The Taliban have denied allegations that Pakistan interferes in Afghanistan’s affairs, dismissing the speculation as baseless rumours.
“We will not allow anyone to interfere in our country’s affairs,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, while addressing a press conference.
“We are working with complete freedom. We fought against different countries who were occupying our country to the best of our ability.”
Mujahid said such rumours have been circulating for decades now.
Taliban announce the government
On Tuesday, the Taliban announced their government weeks after they swept to power and toppled the US-backed president.
Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund — a senior minister during the Taliban’s reign in the 1990s — was appointed acting prime minister, a spokesman said at a press conference in Kabul.
The Taliban had promised an inclusive government that would reflect the ethnic makeup of the country, but all the top positions were handed to key leaders from the movement and the Haqqani network. At the same time, none of the government appointees was women.
“We will try to take people from other parts of the country,” spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said, adding that it was an interim government.
Shortly after the new lineup was revealed, Hibatullah Akhundzada, the secretive supreme leader of the Taliban who has never been seen in public, released a statement saying that the new government would “work hard towards upholding Islamic rules and sharia law”.
Mullah Yaqoob, the son of the Taliban founder and late supreme leader Mullah Omar, was named defence minister, while the position of the interior minister was given to Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the Haqqani network.
Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar, who oversaw the signing of the US withdrawal agreement, will be a deputy to Hassan.
“It’s not at all inclusive, and that’s no surprise whatsoever,” said Michael Kugelman, a South Asia expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
“The Taliban had never indicated that any of its cabinet ministers would include anyone other than themselves.”