The first appointments to the Taliban interim government were announced earlier this month – drawn exclusively from loyalist ranks, with established hardliners in all key posts, despite previous promises of an inclusive administration.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid speaks during a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 6, 2021.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid speaks during a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 6, 2021. (Reuters)

The Taliban has expanded their interim Cabinet by naming deputy ministers, but failed to appoint any women, doubling down on a hard-line course despite the international outcry that followed their initial presentation of an all-male Cabinet lineup earlier this month.

The international community has warned that it will judge the Taliban by their actions, and that recognition of a Taliban-led government would be linked to the treatment of women and minorities. 

In their previous rule of Afghanistan in the late 1990s, the Taliban had barred girls and women from schools, work and public life.

The first appointments to the Taliban interim government were announced earlier this month – drawn exclusively from loyalist ranks, with established hardliners in all key posts, despite previous promises of an inclusive administration for all Afghans.

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Ethnic minorities included

Taliban government spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid defended the latest additions to the Cabinet at a news conference on Tuesday, saying it included members of ethnic minorities, such as the Hazaras, and that women might be added later.

Mujahid bristled at international conditions for recognition, saying there was no reason for withholding it. 

“It is the responsibility of the United Nations to recognise our government (and) for other countries, including European, Asian and Islamic countries, to have diplomatic relations with us,” he said.

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Girls to return to school 'soon as possible'

The Taliban group has framed their current Cabinet as an interim government, suggesting that change was still possible, but they have not said if there would ever be elections.

Mujahid was also asked about the recent restrictions imposed on girls and women, including a decision not to allow girls in grades six to 12 to return to classrooms for the time being.

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Mujahid suggested this was a temporary decision, and that “soon it will be announced when they can go to school.” 

He said plans were being made to allow for their return, but did not elaborate.

Boys in grades six to 12 resumed their studies over the weekend.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies