The Taliban announced a new caretaker government on Tuesday evening and said the acting head of state will be Mullah Hassan Akhund.
Addressing a press conference in Kabul, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid made the announcement and said the new acting prime minister will be Mullah Hassan Akhund.
The Taliban swept to power more than three weeks ago when former president Ashraf Ghani fled the country.
The Taliban has however been working on the formation of a new government since mid-August.
According to Mujahid, the acting ministers are as follows:
1- Mullah Hassan Akhand has been appointed as Acting Prime Minister.
2- Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar has been appointed as acting Deputy Prime Minister
3- Mawlawi Abdul Salam Hanafi has been appointed as acting Deputy Prime Minister
4- Mawlawi Mohammad Yaqoob Mujahid, son of Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar, has been appointed as Acting Defense Minister
5- Mullah Sirajuddin Haqqani has been appointed as Acting Interior Minister
6- Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi has been appointed as Acting Foreign Affairs Minister
7- Mawlawi Hidayatullah Badri has been appointed as Acting Finance Minister
8- Shaikh Mawlawi Noorullah Munir, has been appointed as Acting Education Minister
9- Mullah Khairullah Khairkhah has been appointed as Acting Minister of Information and Culture
10- Qari Din Hanif, has been appointed as Acting Economy Minister
11- Shaikh Mawlawi Noor Mohammad Saqib Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs
12- Mawlawi Abdul Hakim Shari has been appointed as Acting Justice Minister
13- Noorullah Noori has been appointed as Acting Minister for Borders and Tribal Affairs
14- Mullah Mohammad Younus Akhund has been appointed as Acting Minister for the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development
15- Shaikh Mohammad Khalid has been appointed as Acting Minister for the Ministry of Amr Bil Maroof Nahi Anil Munkar (Enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong)
16- Mullah Abdul Manan Omari has been appointed as Acting Public Works Minister
17- Mullah Mohammad Esa Akhund has been appointed as Acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum
18- Mullah Abdul Latif Mansour has been appointed as Acting Minister for Water and Electricity
19- Mullah Hamidullah Akhund has been appointed as Acting Minister of Aviation and Transport
20- Mawlawi Abdul Baqi Haqqani has been appointed as Acting Higher Education Minister
21- Mawlawi Najibullah Haqqani has been appointed as Acting Communications Minister
22- Haji Khalil-ul-Rahman Haqqani has been appointed as Acting Refugee Minister
23- Mawlawi Abdul Haq Wasiq has been appointed as Acting Chief of General Intelligence
24- Haji Mohammad Edriss has been appointed as Acting Head of Da Afghanistan Bank (Central Bank of Afghanistan)
25- Mawlawi Ahmad Jan Ahmadi has been appointed as Acting Head of Administration Office
26- Mullah Mohammad Fazil Mazloom has been appointed as Deputy Defense Minister
27- Qari Fasihudin has been appointed as Chief of Army Staff
28- Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai has been appointed as Deputy Foreign Minister
29- Mawlawi Noor Jalal has been appointed as Deputy Interior Minister
30- Zabihullah Mujahid has been appointed as Deputy Minister for Information and Culture
31- Mullah Taj Mir Jawad has been appointed as First Deputy Intelligence Chief
32- Mullah Rahmatullah Najib has been appointed as Deputy Administration of General Intelligence
33- Mullah Abdul Haq Akhund has been appointed as Deputy Interior Minister for Counter Narcotics
Uzbeks refuse to return military aircraft flown from Afghanistan last year
Uzbekistan authorities say dozens of aircraft flown into their country in August last year, during the collapse of the former government, belong to the United States and will not be returned to the interim government in Kabul.
Afghan air force personnel flew almost 50 helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft to Uzbekistan in mid-August as former president Ashraf Ghani fled the country and Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) forces took control.
Several more aircraft and Black Hawk helicopters were also taken to neighboring Tajikistan.
The IEA has however repeatedly requested that these aircraft are returned to Afghanistan.
But in a recent interview with VOA, Ismatulla Irgashev, a senior presidential adviser, said the aircraft would not be going back to Kabul.
“The U.S. government paid for them,” said Irgashev, his nation’s most senior diplomat dealing with Afghan matters. “It funded the previous Afghan government. So, we believe it is totally up to Washington how to deal with them.
“We’ve kept this military equipment in agreement with the U.S. and have told the Taliban (IEA) so.”
Little has been said since about the issue, in part because of the sensitivity of the issue in Uzbek-Afghan relations and the reluctance of officials on all sides to discuss it, VOA reported.
But U.S. defense officials confirmed to VOA that both Uzbekistan and Tajikistan have no plans to give the aircraft to the IEA.
Blinken and Austin visit Kyiv; announce assistance package to Ukraine
The United States announced new military assistance for Ukraine and a renewed diplomatic push in the war-ravaged nation as President Joe Biden’s secretary of state and Pentagon chief completed a secrecy-shrouded trip to Kyiv.
In the highest-level American visit to the capital since Russia invaded in late February, top envoy Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told Ukraine’s president, Volodomyr Zelenskyy, and his advisers that the U.S. would provide more than $300 million in foreign military financing and had approved a $165 million sale of ammunition, the Associated Press reported.
They also said Biden would soon announce his nominee to be ambassador to Ukraine and that American diplomats who left Ukraine before the war would start returning to the country this coming week. The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv will remain closed for the moment.
Austin and Blinken announced a total of $713 million in foreign military financing for Ukraine and 15 allied and partner countries; some $322 million is earmarked for Kyiv. The remainder will be split among NATO members and other nations that have provided Ukraine with critical military supplies since the war with Russia began, officials said.
U.S. officials said they believed the new assistance would satisfy at least some of the Ukrainians’ urgent pleas for more help. New artillery, including howitzers, continues to be delivered at a rapid pace to Ukraine’s military, which is being trained on its use in neighboring countries, the officials said.
UN chief heading to Turkey ahead of Moscow, Kyiv visits
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will visit Ankara before heading to Moscow next week to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and then to Ukraine for talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a UN statement said on Saturday.
Guterres will visit the Turkish capital on Monday, where he will be received by President Tayyip Erdogan, the statement said.
The UN aid chief, Martin Griffiths, said on April 18 that Turkey was a valuable host for humanitarian talks between Ukraine and Russia.
Eri Kaneko, Guterres’ associate spokesperson, told a news briefing on Friday that Guterres would head to Moscow on Tuesday and meet Putin as well as have a working meeting and lunch with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, hoping to discuss what can be done to bring peace to Ukraine, Reuters reported.
The United Nations also said on Friday that Guterres would meet with Zelenskiy on Thursday, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and staff at UN agencies to discuss the scaling up of humanitarian assistance efforts.
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