Taliban to unveil full cabinet in a week, will control Kabul airport ‘soon’: Reuters

The Taliban will announce a complete cabinet within a week, and it will include not just ministers but leaders as well, group spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters on Saturday.

The group appointed governors and police chiefs in 33 out of the 34 provinces in the country.

“It is difficult to anticipate whether women will be part of the cabinet in Afghanistan. The final decision will be taken by top leaders on the issue,” Mujahid said.

After the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan on August 15, they launched a charm offensive to rehabilitate their image. The group promised amnesty to government employees and soldiers and vowed to protect the rights of women.

Activists and local journalists, however, say the reality on the ground is quite different, with many concerning reports of home searches and arrests of the very people the Taliban said they would not retaliate against.

And women activists and former female political leaders saying they expected to be treated as second class citizens at best.

The spokesman said that Kabul airport will be under the Taliban’s complete control “very soon”.

“We have enough security and technical staff to operate Kabul airport,” Mujahid said.

The group had said on Friday they took control of sections of the airport evacuated by Americans, which the Pentagon denied and said the Taliban are not in charge of any gates or airport operations, stressing that it was still under US military control.

Turkish and Qatari media have reported that the Taliban asked each of the two countries for help running Kabul airport.

But Mujahid told Reuters: “It’s a bit too early to decide whether we will need Turkey or Qatar’s help to operate Kabul airport.”

The Taliban spokesman also appealed to the West to maintain diplomatic ties with Afghanistan. This comes at a time when the White House said the US and its allies were in no rush to recognize the Taliban government.

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