International Desk: On Saturday, the Taliban said they were planning a new cabinet as the US evacuation nears its completion and expected that sharp currency falls and economic turmoil following their takeover of Kabul two weeks ago would subside.
The main spokesman of the movement, Zabihullah Mujahid, made the comments to Reuters as the US military winds down its mission to evacuate US citizens and vulnerable Afghans and withdraw troops from Kabul airport ahead of the Aug 31 deadline set by President Joe Biden.
Zabihullah Mujahid accursed an overnight US drone strike against Islamic State militants, which came after Thursday’s suicide attack near the airport, as a “clear attack on Afghan territory”.
He urged the US and other Western nations to maintain diplomatic relations after their withdrawal, which he expected would be completed “very soon”.
Though the exact timing of a new cabinet formation remained unclear.
Reuters reported, quoting Mujahid, the announcement would be made in the coming week, but in a voice message later, he said the makeup of the new cabinet would be cleared “in one or two weeks”.
He answered a question about whether any women would be included in the new cabinet, “This would be a matter for the leadership to decide and he could not anticipate what their decision would be.
In Kabul, because of the severe economic hardship caused by a plummeting currency and rising food prices, banks are still shuttered two weeks after the fall of the city to the Taliban.
A statement from the Taliban on Saturday said that banks were directed to reopen with a weekly limit on withdrawals of $200 or 20,000 Afghanis.
Mujahid added that officials had already been appointed in order to run key institutions, which include the ministries of public health and education, and the central bank.
United Nations officials have warned Afghanistan faces a humanitarian catastrophe, with large parts of the country suffering from extreme drought conditions, warned United Nations officials.
The shattering economy due to four-decade of war, also faces the loss of billions of dollars in foreign aid, following the withdrawal of Western embassies from the country.
“The fall of Afghani against foreign currency is temporary and it is because of the situation that suddenly changed. It will come back to normal once the government system starts functioning. The economic problems being experienced would be eased once the new government is in place, “he said.