On 21 September, the Taliban announced the appointment of several deputy ministers for Afghanistan’s new government, in particular naming two veteran commanders to key positions.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir will act as deputy defense minister, while Sadr Ibrahim was named deputy minister for the interior.
Muhajid also announced that three of the new posts have been granted to representatives from Panjshir, Baghlan, and Sar-e-Pul, provinces with considerable Tajik and Uzbek populations that have seen pockets of resistance flare-up since the Taliban takeover last month.
The Taliban spokesman defended the latest additions to the cabinet during a news conference, highlighting that members of ethnic minorities have been included, such as the Hazaras, and saying that women might be added to the cabinet later.
“It is the responsibility of the United Nations to recognize our government [and] for other states, including European, Asian, and Islamic countries, to have diplomatic relations with us,” Muhajid said.
But experts believe the new appointments reflect concern within the Taliban to secure unity, as the former insurgents are trying to find the balance between regional and personal differences that have surfaced as they transition to a full-fledged government.
During the news conference, Muhajid also announced that Afghan girls will be allowed to return to school soon, saying: “We are finalizing things . . . It will happen as soon as possible.”
The announcement comes just days after the Education Ministry ordered male teachers and students back to secondary school, but made no mention of the country’s female educators and students.