Taliban name new cabinet members, say working on reopening girls’ schools

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has announced the names of the remaining members of Afghanistan’s interim cabinet, and elaborated on some of the movement's plans and policies.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Mujahid announced the cancelation of the inauguration ceremony scheduled for the new government, announcing that the new cabinet will start work immediately to save time.

The all-male cabinet, which includes battlefield commanders Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir as deputy defense minister and Sadr Ibrahim as deputy interior minister among other new members, is “set to start work right away without wasting time for an oath-taking ceremony.”

“We are trying to strengthen the cabinet further, and god willing, women will be appointed to certain positions in the necessary sections, and one day we will announce (their names) here,” he added.

‘Work at hand on reopening girls’ schools’

The Taliban spokesman also said Afghan girls will be allowed to return to school “as soon as possible”, after the movement faced criticism over their effective exclusion of women and girls from education and work.

The Taliban, who ruled the country before the 2001 US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, had limited women’s activities and participation in societal affairs and governmental employment.

“And in the case of schools (female students), the Ministry of Education is working hard to lay the groundwork for the education of high school girls (6th to 12th grade) as soon as possible. Work is underway on the procedure,” Mujahid announced speaking in the Pashto language spoken by the Pashtun people.

He insisted that a “safe learning environment” needed to be established before females returned to schools.  

During the weekend, all male teachers and students were summoned back to secondary school.

Looking forward to international recognition

Mujahid also noted that the Taliban were looking forward to resuming diplomatic ties with the international community in the near future.

“The issue of recognizing our government is related to the international community. The United Nations is a credible institution in the world, and it is their duty to recognize our government. We also expect other countries such as European countries, countries in the region, near and far, and Islamic countries to strengthen their diplomatic relations with us and recognize our government. If they have been delaying in this regard so far, it’s up to them, but we are waiting, and we hope to see these developments in the near future.”

‘There is no Daesh in Afghanistan’ 

Mujahid also condemned the recent Daesh-affiliated attacks in eastern Afghanistan, but insisted the Takfiri terrorist group has no place in the war-torn country.

The terrorist group “that exists in Iraq and Syria does not exist here,” he insisted, noting however that some Afghans may have adopted the group’s “mentality”.

He said, “The people do not support [Daesh]. A phenomenon that does not have the support of the people cannot cause us trouble.”

He pointed out that the terrorists had no physical presence anywhere in Afghanistan and only invisibly carried out some cowardly attacks.

Mujahid added that security forces were ready “and will stop them seriously” from launching terrorist attacks and abductions in Kabul and other areas.

Before the United States invaded the country under the pretext of fighting terrorism following the 9/11 attacks, the Taliban were running Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

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