By Ebi Kesiena
The Taliban disclosed plans on Thursday to unveil a new government more than two weeks after the Islamist militia’s capture of Kabul brought a chaotic end to 20 years of war.
Taliban Spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid stated on social media that a ceremony was being prepared at the presidential palace in Kabul, adding that a new government will be formed in a matter of a few days.
Recall that the Taliban had promised safe passage out of the country for any foreigners or Afghans left behind by the huge airlift which ended when US troops withdrew on Monday. But with Kabul airport still closed, many were seeking to flee over land.
Qatar’s Foreign Minister said the Gulf state was talking with the Taliban and Turkey about potential technical support to restart operations at Kabul airport, which would facilitate humanitarian assistance and possibly more evacuations.
British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab told the same news conference in Doha “we need to adjust to the new reality” in Afghanistan and said he would be talking with regional leaders about securing safe passage through third countries.
“Our immediate priority is those remaining British nationals, and also the Afghans who worked for the United Kingdom and others who may be at the most risk,” Raab said.
The Taliban’s supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, is expected to have ultimate power over a new governing council here, with a president below him.
The supreme Taliban leader has three deputies – Mawlavi Yaqoob, son of the movement’s late founder Mullah Omar, Sirajuddin Haqqani, leader of the powerful Haqqani network, and Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of the founding members of the group.
An unelected leadership council is how the Taliban ran their 1996-2001 government, which enforced a radical form of sharia Islamic law until it was ousted by U.S.-led forces.
The Taliban have tried to present a more moderate face to the world since they swept aside Afghanisatan’s U.S.-backed government last month, promising to protect human rights and refrain from reprisals against old enemies.
However, sources say, the Taliban have asked Afghan diplomats to stay in overseas posts for the time being, according to a source with direct knowledge of the move. The militant group had made clear there would eventually be change but also wanted to maintain a sense of continuity.