Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar will lead a new Afghan government set to be announced shortly, sources in the Islamist group said on Friday, as it battled rebel fighters in the Panjshir Valley and strived to ward off economic collapse.
Baradar, who heads the Taliban’s political office, will be joined by Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, the son of late Taliban co-founder Mullah Omar, and Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, in senior positions in the government, three sources said. “All the top leaders have arrived in Kabul, where preparations are in final stages to announce the new government,” one Taliban official told Reuters, on condition of anonymity.
Haibatullah Akhunzada, the Taliban`s surpreme religious leader, will focus on religious matters and governance within the framework of Islam, another Taliban source said.
The Taliban, which seized Kabul on Aug. 15 after sweeping across most of the country, have faced resistance in the Panjshir Valley, north of the capital, with reports of heavy fighting and casualties. Several thousand fighters of regional militias and remnants of the government`s armed forces have massed in the rugged valley under the leadership of Ahmad Massoud, the son of former Mujahideen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud. Efforts to negotiate a settlement appear to have broken down, with each side blaming the other for the failure.