Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar to lead new Afghanistan govt: Report

Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar will lead a new Afghan government that could be announced soon, sources in the Islamist group said on Friday, as it battled rebel fighters while striving 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 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.

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.

HUMANITARIAN CATASTROPHE

The government’s legitimacy in the eyes of international donors and investors will be crucial for an economy grappling with drought and the ravages of a conflict that killed an estimated 240,000 Afghans.

Humanitarian groups have warned of impending catastrophe and the economy, reliant for years on many millions of dollars of foreign aid, is close to collapse.

Many Afghans were struggling to feed their families amid severe drought well before the Taliban took power and millions may now face starvation, aid agencies say.

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