U.N.-Sanctioned Taliban Stalwarts At The Helm Of New Afghan Government

(New York, N.Y.) – A month after the Taliban conquered Kabul and declared the restoration of their Islamic Emirate, a new administration in Afghanistan has taken shape. Senior positions have been handed to numerous internationally designated figures, including members of the U.N. Security Council’s (UNSC) terrorism blacklist and leaders of the U.S.-designated terror group, the Haqqani Network. As governments and international organizations consider the terms and conditions of engagement with the Taliban, more details about the makeup of the new 33-member cabinet in Afghanistan have come to light.

Among the 19 designated members of the interim government are Minister of Finance Gul Agha Ishakzai, Minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs Noor Mohammed Saqib, Minister of Communications Najibullah Haqqani, Foreign Minister Amir Khan Motaqi, and Minister of Aviation and Transportation Hameedullah Akhundzada.

Gul Agha Ishakzai, a close childhood friend and advisor to Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, will serve as finance minister. Gul Agha reportedly facilitated the movement of people and goods to Taliban training camps in December 2005, and later traveled to obtain weapon parts in late 2006. Among his more nefarious responsibilities included collecting money for suicide attacks in Kandahar, Afghanistan and distributing funds to Taliban fighters and their families.

Noor Mohammad Saqib, the new minister of hajj and religious affairs, served as chief justice of the Supreme Court under the first Taliban regime and is the also the former head of the Supreme Council’s Religious Committee. During Saqib’s time as chief justice, Saqib presided over the 2001 trial of eight foreign aid workers—four Germans, two Australians, and two Americans—accused of promoting Christianity in Afghanistan. If found guilty, the defendants would have faced the death penalty. However, following the 9/11 attacks and the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, on November 14, 2001, U.S. military officials rescued the eight aid workers and transported them to Pakistan.

Najibullah Haqqani Hidayatullah, the deputy minister of finance under first Taliban regime, will serve as communications minister. In 2007, Haqqani served as a member of the Taliban Council in Kunar Province and in June 2008, he was appointed the primary Taliban official responsible for military activity in Kunar. By late 2010, Haqqani was reported to be the Taliban member responsible for Laghman province.

Other Taliban veterans appointed to cabinet positions are Foreign Minister Amir Khan Motaqi, who previously served as education minister and as a representative in U.N-led talks under the first Taliban regime, and Minister of Aviation and Transportation Hameedullah Akhundzada, the former head of Ariana Afghan Airlines.

To read CEP’s resource Gul Agha Ishakzai, please click here

To read CEP’s resource Noor Mohammad Saqib, please click here.

To read CEP’s resource Najibullah Haqqani Hidayatullah, please click here.

To read CEP’s resource Amir Khan Motaqi, please click here

To read CEP’s resource Hamidullah Akhund Sher Mohammad a.k.a. Hameedullah Akhundzada, please click here.

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