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Afghan PM assures 'full protection' of returning ex-officials

Source: PTI
September 09, 2021 16:47 IST
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Afghanistan's acting Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund has appealed to former officials of past governments to return to the country and assured them "full protection", saying the period of bloodbath is over and they face a humongous task to rebuild the war-ravaged nation.

IMAGE: Evacuees board a C-17 Globemaster III during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Afghanistan. Photograph: U.S NAVY/Central Command Public Affairs/Cpl. Nicholas Guevara/Handout via Reuters
 

"We paid a heavy price for seeing this historic moment in Afghanistan," Mullah Hasan said on Wednesday, a day after the hardline Islamic insurgents unveiled an interim Cabinet after seizing power in Kabul.

"We appeal to the officials of past governments to return to their country as we will give them full protection of their lives. We are faced with the huge task of rebuilding and reconstruction of war-ravaged Afghanistan," he said.

He said that the period of bloodbath was over in Afghanistan and reiterated the Taliban's promise of amnesty for anyone who has worked alongside the previous governments following the US-led invasion in 2001, Al-Jazeera news channel reported.

The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan in mid-August, ousting the previous elected leadership which was backed by the West. The interim Cabinet consists of high-profile members of the insurgent group.

Citing a Taliban spokesman, TOLO news reported that the new government will be led by the insurgent group's chief Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada. The spokesman did not disclose Mullah Hibatullah's designation in the interim government or his role in the state affairs.

At least 14 members of the Taliban's interim government are on the UN Security Council's terrorism blacklist, including acting Prime Minister Mullah Hasan and his both deputies. Specially designated global terrorist Sirajuddin Haqqani, who carries a reward of USD 10 million US bounty on his head, is the acting interior minister.

The 33-member interim Cabinet includes four of the five leaders known as the "Taliban Five" who were once held at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

The Afghan Cabinet members are expected to take oath on September 11, the day marking  the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. However, the Taliban leaders said it is not final.

Meanwhile, former Afghan prime minister and Hizb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has announced unconditional support to the interim government of Afghanistan led by the Taliban.

Citing former officials of the Taliban, Khaama news said that they believe that the interim cabinet will last for six months and then the official cabinet will be announced.

It also said that the Taliban officials and technical teams from Qatar and Turkey are busy working in Hamid Karzai International Airport and the airport will be fully ready for international flights in the next three days.

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