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Report: Baradar To Lead New Afghan Government

Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (center).

Taliban co-founder and political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who is considered a relative moderate within the hard-line Islamist group, will lead the new government in Afghanistan, Reuters quotes three sources as saying, as the militants continue to battle with resistance fighters holding out in mountains north of Kabul.

The sources said on September 3 that Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, the son of late Taliban founder and spiritual leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, and Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, a member of Taliban’s Doha political office, will take senior government positions.

"All the top leaders have arrived in Kabul, where preparations are in final stages to announce the new government," a Taliban member said under condition of anonymity.

Another source said that Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhunzada will focus on religious matters and governance within the framework of Islam, according to Reuters.

A Taliban spokesman told AFP that the announcement of a new administration would now not happen until September 4 at the earliest.

The Islamists face the enormous challenge of shifting gears from insurgent group to governing power, more than two weeks after seizing control of most of the country and days after the United States fully withdrew its troops after 20 years of presence.

Many of the world's leading nations wait to see if the next administration's actions will be in line with the Taliban's promises of being more moderate than during its brutal rule between 1996 and 2001, when it enforced a radical form of Islamic law.

The legitimacy of the new administration in the eyes of international donors and investors will be crucial for the economy, which is in tatters as the country battles drought and the ravages of a conflict that took the lives of an estimated 240,000 Afghans.

Baradar, one of the founder of the Taliban in 1994, has spent eight years in prison in Pakistan after being reportedly arrested in Karachi in 2010 in an operation by U.S. and Pakistani intelligence agents. He was released on the request of the United States.

In February 2020, he signed the landmark Doha agreement with the United States that aimed to end the 20-year war in Afghanistan. He held a telephone conversation with the former U.S. president the following month.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP
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