Pakistan will host a virtual conference of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries’ foreign ministers to review developments in the war-torn country on Wednesday (today).
Foreign ministers from China, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan will attend the conference.
The meeting takes place only one day after the Taliban announced the formation of an interim government in Afghanistan.
The conference of foreign ministers will examine the changing situation in Afghanistan to address shared problems and seize new possibilities to maintain regional security and development, according to a statement from the Foreign Office.
“It will provide an opportunity to neighbors of Afghanistan to work together for the shared objective of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, which is essential to forge strong economic linkages and realize connectivity agenda,” it further said.
The conference comes after a similar gathering of regional countries’ Special Representatives/Envoys for Afghanistan on September 5.
“The neighbors of Afghanistan have a vital stake in the stability of the country. A peaceful, stable, united, sovereign and prosperous Afghanistan will contribute towards transit trade, people-to-people exchanges and security in the region,” the FO said.
The Taliban on Tuesday announced their interim government, naming Mohammad Hasan Akhund as prime minister and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar as deputy PM.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the group’s spokesperson, announced the government. He said that Sirajuddin Haqqani has been appointed as interim interior minister while Mullah Amir Khan Mutaqi will be interim foreign minister of the Islamic Emirates.
Akhund is the chief of the Taliban’s powerful decision-making body ‘Rehbari Shura.
Furthermore, Hidayattullah Badari was appointed as finance minister, Zabihullah Mujahid as vice information minister, Sirajuddin Haqqani as interior minister, Mohammad Yaqub Mujahid as Defence minister, and Sheikhullah Munir will be education minister.
Abdul Haq has been appointed as intelligence head.
The announcement comes days after the Taliban announced Panjshir victory, the last holdout province.
The group was scheduled to announce the government on Friday but it was delayed due to unexplained reasons.
Who is Mohammad Hasan Akhund?
Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund is currently chief of the Taliban’s powerful decision-making body – Rehbari Shura, which spearheads all the affairs of the group subject to the approval of the top leader.
Reportedly, the top leader Mullah Hebatullah himself suggested Mullah Hassan’s name to head the Taliban government.
Mullah Hassan, reportedly, belongs to Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban, and was among the founders of the armed movement. He worked for 20 years as head of Rehbari Shura and remained close to Mullah Hebatullah.
He had also served as foreign minister and deputy prime minister during the Taliban’s previous government in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.
Who is Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar?
Baradar was born in the Afghan province of Uruzgan in 1968 and was raised in Kandahar.
He also fought against Soviet invasion and also believed to have fought alongside Mullah Omar, the Afghan mujahid commander who later headed the group when it founded the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in 1996.
The two Afghan leaders later founded the Taliban movement in the early 1990s when the country was facing civil war following the Soviet withdrawal.
Baradar went into hiding in 2001 when the US toppled the Taliban’s government while he continued to lead the group in exile.
Belong to the Popalzai tribe, he was arrested by Pakistani forces in 2010. He remained in Pakistani custody until the US put pressure on him to free him in 2018.
After his release, he went to Qatar where he was appointed head of the Taliban’s political office, and he represented the Taliban during the signing of the withdrawal agreement with the Americans.
On this Sunday, the Taliban managed to take control of Afghanistan after President Ashraf Ghani fled Kabul, paving way for the group to claim victory.