WASHINGTON, D.C.—In a bitter and cruel act of defiance against the United States, the Taliban appears set to swear in their new government on Afghanistan on Saturday.

This is the 20th anniversary since the Afghan-based Osama bin Laden launched the attacks that murdered nearly 3,000 people in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington.

“The inauguration of the new transitional government is scheduled for Sept. 11,” a Taliban source said.

“Russia, China, Qatar, Turkey, Pakistan and Iran  have so far been invited to the ceremony” in Kabul, he added.

Some of those who will serve in the Taliban government are on the U.S. terrorist watch list, on the FBI Most Wanted list, or under U.S. sanctions.

More on that in a moment.

AN AFGHAN CHRISTIAN PRAYER

Afghan Christians are deeply worried about the government that is forming.

One source with close ties to the Afghan Christian community shared with ALL ARAB NEWS a prayer that a local Afghan Christian sent to him.

Dear Lord —

While surrounded by the sounds and sights and smells of death, we find it hard to see the future.

We find it hard to understand why these men of evil intent are the helm of affairs.

The Bible says the government is upon your shoulders. But this government is evil.

Lord, you change their evil intent.

Lord, what they mean for evil unto us, you turn it to good.

Lord, may an attack like 9/11 never happen again. But may the hearts of believers every where pray for miracles and hope in this beloved and beautiful land.

Help us, Lord, to love, to trust and to hope when it feels impossible.

Amen.

WHO’S WHO IN THE TALIBAN GOVERNMENT?

Mullah Hasan Akhund will serve as prime minister.

“Like many in the Taliban leadership, [he] derives much of his prestige from his close link to the movement’s reclusive late founder Mullah Omar, who presided over its rule two decades ago,” Reuters reported.

“Akhund is longtime chief of the Taliban’s powerful decision-making body Rehbari Shura, or leadership council,” Reuters added.

“He was foreign minister and then deputy prime minister when the Taliban were last in power and, like many of the incoming Cabinet, is under U.N. sanctions for his role in that government.”

The new interior minister will be Sirajuddin Haqqani.

(Screenshot Fox News)

“Haqqani is on the FBI’s most-wanted list with a $5 million bounty on his head and is believed to still be holding at least one American hostage,” the Associated Press reported.

“He headed the feared Haqqani network that is blamed for many deadly attacks and kidnappings.”

“The Haqqani network, which dominates most of eastern Afghanistan, has been blamed for dramatic attacks in Kabul in the past two decades and for orchestrating kidnappings, often of Americans,” the AP noted. “Washington believes it still holds Mark Frerichs, a civilian contractor, who was abducted in January 2020 and hasn’t been heard from since.”

Bloomberg is reporting on other key appointments:

  • Abdul Salam Hanafi, second deputy prime minister. He’s an ethnic Uzbek and a member of Taliban’s political office in Doha, Qatar. He was deputy minister of education when the Taliban last ruled between 1996-2001.
  • Amir Khan Muttaqi as acting foreign minister. He’s an ethnic Pasthun from Helmand province and was a senior member of Taliban’s political office and negotiation team in Doha.
  • Hedayatullah Badri as acting finance minister. Little is known about Badri.
  • Din Mohammad as acting economy minister. An ethnic Tajik, he was also a member of Taliban’s negotiation team in Doha. He was the minister for planning and higher education during the Taliban’s previous rule.
  • Mohammad Idris as acting governor of the central bank. Idris headed the Taliban’s economic commission. Little else is known about him, including his education background and professional qualifications in dealing with monetary, currency and banking policy.
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