Taliban reach agreement on choosing new leader

The cabinet will be held under the supervision of the spiritual leader, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada
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PHOTO/ARCHIVO  -   New Taliban Leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada

The turmoil caused by the Taliban's rise to power in Afghanistan is also having major consequences within the radical movement itself. Barely a few weeks after taking control of Kabul and not more than two days after the end of the US troop evacuation, the Taliban group has already set about reorganising its internal structure.

As reported by the US agency Bloomberg, the Taliban have reportedly reached an agreement on the election of a new leader who will be chosen in a cabinet to be overseen by the movement's current spiritual leader, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada. The agency further quotes a Taliban official as saying that 'the movement and other Afghan leaders have reached an agreement to form a new authority under the leadership of the movement's spiritual leader, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada'. It added that this decision would be announced within "a few days".

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PHOTO/AP - Taliban fighters patrol inside the city of Kandahar province, southwestern Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021.

Bilal Karimi, a member of the movement's cultural committee, announced that Akhundzada will be the leader of the authority in charge of the cabinet. Thus, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of Haibatullah's three deputies and the movement's official frontman, will be in charge of executing governmental tasks on a daily basis. Karimi himself said that "consultations among the Islamic Emirate leaders on the formation of an inclusive Afghan government with former Afghan officials and influential leaders of Afghan society have officially ended", adding that "they have reached an agreement and we are about to announce an effective government in a few days, not a few weeks".

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AP/RAHMAT GUL - Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid

CNN News 18 from India has also reported on the decision taken by the Taliban and, according to sources quoted by the Indian media, Haibatullah Akhundzada will be the head of the new government they intend to establish in Afghanistan. They also point out that the form of government planned by the insurgent sector is very similar to the one that exists in Iran under Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The headquarters will be in the birthplace of the Taliban movement, Kandahar, and Akhundzada will be the highest religious and political authority in the country.

The official announcement by the Taliban is expected in the next few days, having moved very quickly after the Americans ended their 20-year military presence in Afghanistan. The last US soldier left Afghanistan on Monday 30 August, one day before the deadline announced by US President Joe Biden. However, before what has been the largest evacuation from the area in history could be completed, 13 US soldiers were killed and 20 others wounded after a suicide bombing outside Kabul airport. The attack was later claimed by ISIS.

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PHOTO/AFP - A Taliban supporter holds a Taliban flag as he marches with others along a street in Kandahar on August 31, 2021, as they celebrate after the US withdrew all its troops from the country to end a brutal 20-year war that began and ended with Islamist hardliners in power.

The Taliban waited for foreign forces to leave the country before declaring victory. After doing so, their fighters entered the capital's airport, walking through the corridors surrounded by equipment left behind by the US military. A symbolic act of victory that has been broadcast on various channels and illustrates the end of what has been 20 years of US presence in Afghanistan. What should not be forgotten is that the situation the Taliban will have to deal with is even more complicated, if that is possible. 

Financial shortfalls and diplomatic isolation are some of the most important problems they will have to deal with in the near future, but they will not be the only ones. Being one of the poorest countries in the world and with more than 10 million people threatened by food shortages, the outlook is bleak. In fact, the NGO Action Against Hunger has activated its teams to resume its actions in the Asian country. They aim to respond, in difficult times, to the needs of people who do not have the means to live their daily lives.