What we know about the Taliban men who will form Afghanistan’s interim government

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan continues as the group announced leaders of a "caretaker" government Tuesday. Meanwhile, the U.S. secretaries of state and defense were in the Gulf region, in Qatar, where the American evacuation mission is headquartered, and the White House requested $6.4 billion for both the evacuation and resettlement of Afghan refugees. Yamiche Alcindor reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan came into sharper focus today, as the group announced leaders of what it calls a caretaker government, atop that structure, this man, Haibatullah Akhundzada, the emir of the Taliban. He will serve as what is being called supreme leader.

    Meantime, the U.S. secretaries of state and defense were in the Gulf region today in Qatar, where the ongoing mission to evacuate individuals from Afghanistan is headquartered. And the White House requested $6.4 billion for the evacuation and the resettlement of Afghan refugees.

    Yamiche Alcindor begins our coverage.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Today, the Taliban's head spokesperson ushered in an interim government void of women.

  • Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban Spokesman (through translator):

    Our country needs comprehensive activities and services in various fields to address the legal, economic and social rights of the people and prevent losses. The Islamic Emirate decided to appoint and announce an acting cabinet to advance important matters.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Key roles in the government include veterans of the group. Mullah Hassan Akhund, the interim prime minister, headed the Taliban government in Kabul during the last years of its previous rule that was ended by the U.S.

    Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is deputy prime minister. The Trump administration pushed Pakistan to release him from prison in 2018 to jump-start the Doha peace talks. Baradar led talks with the United States and signed the deal that led to America's final withdrawal from Afghanistan.

    Sirajuddin Haqqani was appointed acting interior minister. He's the head of the Haqqani Network group, a branch of the Taliban. Haqqani has an American bounty on his head. He is wanted in questioning by the FBI for a 2008 attack on a Kabul hotel.

    Amir Khan Muttaqi is acting foreign minister. And Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob has been named as defense minister. He's the son of Taliban founder Mullah Omar. The Taliban said these men would form an interim government, but it did not say how long they will remain in power or if elections will be held.

    At the press conference today, Taliban spokesperson Mujahid celebrated the withdrawal of foreign troops.

  • Zabihullah Mujahid (through translator):

    Thank God our country regained its freedom from occupation. All the causes of the wars were destroyed.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    But, today, on the streets of Kabul, hundreds of women came out to protest the Taliban takeover and what they say is Pakistan's interference in the country.

  • Woman (through translator):

    We do not want the intelligence services of Pakistan to establish a government for us. Afghanistan has always been and will remain an independent country.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Pakistan has historically deep ties with the Taliban, and many Afghans accuse it of playing a role in bringing the group back to power.

    In the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, planes chartered to fly out more than 2,000 people sit on the tarmac. Several hundred, including American citizens and green card holders, say they have been waiting for more than a week for Taliban permission to leave.

    The Taliban says anyone with the correct paperwork can board the flights.

    Today, on a visit to Qatar, Secretary of State Antony Blinken also denied the Taliban was blocking Americans from leaving.

    Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State: They said that they will let people with travel documents freely depart. We will hold them to that. So will dozens of other countries. The international community is watching to see if the Taliban will live up to their commitments.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Yamiche Alcindor.

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