Afghanistan’s new interior minister heads a US-designated terror group and has a $10 million US bounty on his head

Sirajuddin Haqqani
A wanted poster issued by the FBI for Sirajuddin Haqqani. FBI/Handout via REUTERS
  • The Taliban announced an interim government on Tuesday.
  • Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is wanted by the FBI, was named Afghanistan’s interior minister.
  • The militant group did not include any women in the new interim government, and has been violently cracking down on protests.
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The Taliban on Tuesday announced a new interim government in Afghanistan that excludes women and includes the head of a militant group who’s wanted by the FBI.

Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, one of the Taliban’s founders, was named prime minister. He’s on a UN blacklist.

And Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a Taliban co-founder, has been tapped as deputy prime minister.

Baradar was captured in a US-Pakistani operation in 2010 and imprisoned in Pakistan until 2018. He was released under the urging of the Trump administration amid peace talks between the US and Taliban, and would go on to lead the Taliban delegation in the negotiations.

The Taliban named Sirajuddin Haqqani as interior minister. Haqqani is the head of the Haqqani Network – a US-designated terror group in Pakistan and Afghanistan with close ties to Al Qaeda – and there’s a $US10 ($AU13) million US bounty on his head.

The FBI’s Most Wanted List says Haqqani is wanted for “questioning in connection with the January 2008 attack on a hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed six people, including an American citizen.”

“He is believed to have coordinated and participated in cross-border attacks against US and coalition forces in Afghanistan,” the FBI said. “Haqqani also allegedly was involved in the planning of the assassination attempt on Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2008.”

The Taliban has sought to pose as moderates since marching into Kabul in mid-August, and vowed to establish an inclusive government. But the militant group did not include any women in the new interim government, and has been violently cracking down on women-led protests.

Mullah Yaqoob, son of the late Taliban founder and supreme commander Mullah Omar, has been named minister of defense. And Amir Khan Muttaqi, a senior Taliban leader, was made foreign minister.