8th September, 2021
Germany, China and Japan offered a lukewarm reception on Wednesday to the Taliban’s provisional government in Afghanistan.
Taliban leaders filled all the top posts in Tuesday’s government list.
There were no outsiders and no women.
The interim prime minister is Mullah Hasan Akhund. He also headed the Taliban government in Kabul during the last years of its rule.
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who had led talks with the U.S. and signed the deal that led to the withdrawal, will be one of two deputies to Akhund.
Abdul Salam Hanafi, an ethnic Uzbek, was named as second deputy to Hasan Akhund.
Besides Haqqani as head of the police, the other top security post of defense minister went to Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, the son of Taliban founder and near-mythic figure Mullah Mohammad Omar.
The new foreign minister will be Amir Khan Muttaqi, another prominent figure from the Taliban’s last time in power. He faces a difficult task, given the Cabinet’s lack of diversity.
The structure of the new government runs counter to advice to the Taliban from world powers for an inclusive government, backing up its pledges of a more conciliatory approach that upholds human rights, if it sought peace and development.
Voicing concern about the government’s composition, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he saw little reason for optimism about conditions in Afghanistan.
“The announcement of a transitional government without the participation of other groups, and yesterday’s violence against demonstrators and journalists in Kabul, are not signals that give cause for optimism,” he said.
Afghans who enjoyed major progress in education and civil liberties over the 20 years of U.S.-backed government remain fearful of Taliban intentions and daily protests have continued since the Taliban takeover.
Maas said, however, that Germany was willing to keep talking to the Taliban in a bid to ensure more people were able to leave the country, hit by food shortages and a halt in international payments.
China, which shares a border with Afghanistan, had urged the establishment of an “open and inclusive” government after the Taliban seized power, amid the chaos following the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
A foreign ministry spokesperson said in Beijing on Wednesday that China viewed the establishment of the new government as a necessary step towards reconstruction in Afghanistan.
“We hope the new Afghanistan authorities will listen broadly to people of all races and factions, so as to meet the aspirations of its own peoples and the expectations of the international community,” Wang Wenbin told a daily briefing.
China was ready to maintain communication with the leaders of the new government, Wang added, in comments prompted by a query about whether Beijing would recognise the new government.
In Tokyo, a top official said Japan was monitoring the actions of the Taliban and would keep up co-operation with the United States and other countries, while expressing concern over the safety of citizens in Afghanistan.
“Through various efforts, including practical dialogue with the Taliban, we are doing the utmost to ensure safety of Japanese nationals and for local staff who remain,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato.
He also promised support for Japanese who wanted to leave the south Asian nation.
The United Nations has said basic services are unravelling in Afghanistan with food and other aid about to run out. More than half a million people have been displaced internally in Afghanistan this year.