Taliban cabinet expansion includes some minorities, skips women

Kabul, Sep 21 (EFE).- The Taliban on Tuesday announced the remain members of its interim government in Afghanistan, appointing around 20 new ministers and deputy ministers, some of them from different ethnic minority communities, but without including any woman.

“Most of the appointments are done on the basis of professionalism and merit and it will further strengthen the human resources of the Islamic Emirate,” Taliban’s main spokesperson and deputy communications minister Zabihullah Mujahid said in a press conference.

However, despite the Islamists insisting repeatedly on forming an “inclusive” government, the new additions to the cabinet include only a few representatives who are of a different ethnicity than Pashtuns – the dominant community in Taliban ranks – while women continue to remain absent.

The newly introduced cabinet members include include commerce minister Haji Noor Uddin and his deputies Haji Muhammad Bashir and Haji Azim Sultan, all from the minority Tajik community.

Similarly, Muhammad Hassan Ghyasi, a doctor from the persecuted Hazara minority, has been named the second deputy minister of public health.

Of the 21 existing portfolios in the Taliban government, just the trade minister was appointed on Tuesday, while Qalandar Ebad took over the charge of the public health ministry from Wahid Majrood, the only minister of the ousted government who had remained on his post.

Mullah Sadar Ibrahim was named the deputy interior minister, Abdul Qayoom Zakir as the deputy defense minister, and pro-Taliban academician Nazar Muhammad as the new interim president of the Afghan Olympic Committee.

On Sep. 7, the Taliban and announced the first batch of administrators, most of them Pashtuns, with Mullah Hassan Akhund elected to lead the government.

With a slightly more “inclusive” government, the Taliban hope to soon receive recognition from the international community, which has continued to demand guarantees of security and respect for rights and freedoms, especially vis-a-vis women.

“Our government have provided security and is in control of the whole country, all international requirements for the recognition of a state has been fulfilled, its now the responsibility of the international community to officially recognize us,” Mujahid said.

The lack of international recognition has kept the Taliban geopolitically isolated, while the majority of funds at the disposal of Afghanistan have also been frozen by world bodies.

The spokesperson said that Iran, Qatar, Pakistan and a few other countries were advising the Taliban over how to get “officially recognized.”

Despite no woman being named in the cabinet, Mujahid insisted that in future female members will also be appointed on “some posts” and that girls’ schools will be opened “soon.”

He said the Taliban are “committed to women rights” but they need “some time” to develop “some regulations and norms for them.” EFE


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