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Taliban will announce a new Afghan government ‘in a few days,’ official says

Taliban fighters holding Taliban flags in Kabul, Afghanistan
Taliban fighters hold the group’s white flags in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Monday.
(Khwaja Tawfiq Sediqi / Associated Press)

The Taliban and other Afghan leaders have reached a “consensus” on the formation of a new government and Cabinet under the leadership of the group’s top spiritual leader, an official said Wednesday.

Taliban supreme commander Haibatullah Akhundzada will be the top leader of any governing council, said Bilal Karimi, a member of the group’s cultural commission. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of Akhundzada’s three deputies and the main public face of the Taliban, is likely to be in charge of the daily functioning of the government, Karimi added.

“The consultations on forming an inclusive Afghan government within the Islamic Emirate’s leaders, with the leaders from previous government and other influential leaders, have officially ended,” Karimi said, referring to Afghanistan by the Taliban’s name for the country. “They have reached a consensus. We’re about to announce a functioning Cabinet and government in a few days, not weeks.”

The Taliban had been waiting for the full withdrawal of U.S. troops before making any announcements about their government, said a senior official who asked not to be identified because of the private nature of the talks. Both Akhundzada and Baradar will soon make a public appearance in Kabul, the official added.

As the Taliban takes unfettered control of Afghanistan, major challenges await, including at the Kabul airport, the scene of the West’s last stand.

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The U.S. officially ended its longest war around midnight Monday night in Afghanistan, a mission that began soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The mood among Taliban members has been jubilant following the exit of American troops, but considerable challenges lie ahead as the group now looks to establish a functioning government. The new leaders will have to stave off an economic crisis after the U.S. cut off aid and try to control spiraling inflation and also avoid a civil war with ethnic-based militias and a local offshoot of the Islamic State terror group.

Akhundzada is currently in the southern city of Kandahar, the group’s stronghold, where he led a three-day conference of top Taliban and other Afghan leaders, Zabihullah Mujahed, the group’s main spokesman, said Tuesday.

Few other details were immediately known.


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