Amir Khan Motaqi

Amir Khan Motaqi is a U.N.-sanctioned Taliban senior leader who served as minister of education during the Taliban’s first regime.“CONSOLIDATED LIST OF FINANCIAL SANCTIONS TARGETS IN THE UK,” Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation HM  Treasury, February 1, 2021, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/957420/afghanistan.pdf. Following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, Motaqi was named foreign minister of the Taliban government on September 7.“Taliban forms 33-member cabinet in Afghanistan: Full list,” Hindustan Times, September 8, 2021, https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/taliban-forms-33-member-cabinet-in-afghanistan-full-list-101631066722518.html.

A member of the Sulaimankhel tribe, Motaqi is a veteran member of the Taliban, serving both as the minister of education and a representative in U.N.-led talks under the first Taliban regime from the 1990s until 2001.“CONSOLIDATED LIST OF FINANCIAL SANCTIONS TARGETS IN THE UK,” Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation HM  Treasury, February 1, 2021, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/957420/afghanistan.pdf. Given Motaqi’s prominent role within the Taliban, the United Nations Security Council sanctioned Motaqi on January 25, 2001, with the U.K. Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation also enforcing sanctions on Motaqi on April 2, 2001.“Security Council 1988 Committee Amends 105 Entries on Its Sanctions List,” United Nations, November 29, 2011, https://www.un.org/press/en/2011/sc10465.doc.htm; “CONSOLIDATED LIST OF FINANCIAL SANCTIONS TARGETS IN THE UK,” Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation HM  Treasury, February 1, 2021, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/957420/afghanistan.pdf. As of June 2007, Motaqi served as a member of the Taliban Supreme Council.“CONSOLIDATED LIST OF FINANCIAL SANCTIONS TARGETS IN THE UK,” Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation HM  Treasury, February 1, 2021, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/957420/afghanistan.pdf.

On August 6, 2021, the Taliban began an offensive against major Afghan cities with the seizure of Zaranj, capital of Nimruz province.Susannah George and Ezzatullah Mehrdad, “Taliban fighters overrun an Afghan provincial capital for the first time since withdrawal of foreign forces,” Washington Post, August 6, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/08/06/afghanistan-taliban-nimruz/. By August 13, the Taliban controlled 17 of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals and more than two-thirds of the country.Rahim Faiez, and Joseph Krauss, “Taliban sweep across Afghanistan’s south; take 4 more cities,” Associated Press, August 13, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-taliban-c6c8d4a41c554f36031a8131538d1402. On August 15, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan and thousands of Afghans poured into Kabul’s airport as Taliban fighters entered the city. By August 16, the Taliban laid siege to the presidential palace and took complete control of Kabul, after which the Taliban declared the war in Afghanistan had ended.“Taliban declares ‘war is over’ as president and diplomats flee Kabul,” Reuters, August 15, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/talibans-rapid-advance-across-afghanistan-2021-08-10/. The Taliban has claimed that it would take on a more “moderate” approach in their ruling of the country, and that women are allowed to have roles in public life in observance of “Islamic law.”“Factbox: Taliban seek to present a moderate face as they take control in Afghanistan,” Reuters, August 15, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/taliban-seek-present-moderate-face-they-take-control-afghanistan-2021-08-15/.

In an audio recording released on social media on September 1, 2021, Motaqi urged residents of Panjshir province—the last region to fall to Taliban control—to convince their anti-Taliban neighbors to not engage in war and instead join the Islamic Emirate. Motaqi claimed the Islamic Emirate—a term the Taliban uses to refer to Afghanistan—will be a home for all Afghans as they “want to prevent war and find a political solution.”“The Latest: Security Council to keep focus on Afghanistan,” Associated Press, September 1, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/europe-religion-pope-francis-democracy-daf3cbe6393c7a7370cd09e476861176.

On September 7, 2021, the Taliban announced the official appointments within their caretaker government. Motaqi was appointed foreign minister of the Taliban government.“Taliban forms 33-member cabinet in Afghanistan: Full list,” Hindustan Times, September 8, 2021, https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/taliban-forms-33-member-cabinet-in-afghanistan-full-list-101631066722518.html. The government is exclusively male, with many positions filled with veterans from their hardline movement in the early nineties.Matthieu Aikins and Jim Huylebroek, “Taliban Appoint Stalwarts to Top Government Posts,” New York Times, September 7, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/07/world/asia/taliban-women-protest-kabul-afghanistan.html; Kathy Gannon, “Taliban form all-male Afghan government of old guard members,” Associated Press, September 8, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-pakistan-afghanistan-arrests-islamabad-d50b1b490d27d32eb20cc11b77c12c87.

At his first news conference since being named foreign minister, on September 14, 2021, Motaqi stated that the Taliban would remain committed to not allowing militants to use their territory to launch attacks. However, Motaqi made no mention whether the Taliban would create a more inclusive government. Motaqi stated that the current government is ruling on an interim basis, and that when a permanent government is formed, the Taliban “will take into account what the people want.” Additionally, Motaqi did not provide concrete details surrounding the date of eventual elections, and instead stated that other countries must not interfere in Afghanistan’s internal issues. However, Motaqi did state that Afghanistan’s embassies operating abroad have been told to continue their operations and promised that all Afghans would be allowed to leave the country as it is the responsibility of the Taliban government to provide passports to its citizens.Kathy Gannon, “Minister pledges Taliban govt won’t allow militant attacks,” Associated Press, September 14, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/afghanistan-cabinets-taliban-militant-groups-3652ae786079637a56a4edff5063fe5f. However, media sources reported that activists have accused the Taliban of preventing Afghans from leaving the country, even those with proper documentation.Ali M. Latifi, “Afghanistan’s Muttaqi urges countries to engage with new gov’t,” Al Jazeera, September 14, 2021, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/9/14/afghanistans-amir-khan-muttaqi-addresses-the-media.

Also Known As

Extremist entity
Taliban
Type(s) of Organization:
Insurgent, regional, terrorist, transnational, violent
Ideologies and Affiliations:
Deobandi, Islamist, jihadist, Pashtun, Salafi, Sunni, Wahhabi
Position(s):
Foreign Minister of the Taliban government

The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021 after previously leading a violent insurgency in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The group is closely affiliated with al-Qaeda.

  • Designations

United Nations

  • The United Nations sanctioned Amir Khan Motaqi as an individual associated with the Taliban on January 25, 2001.“Security Council 1988 Committee Amends 105 Entries on Its Sanctions List,” United Nations, November 29, 2011, https://www.un.org/press/en/2011/sc10465.doc.htm.

United Kingdom

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