US Concerned About Taliban Caretaker Team's 'Track Record'

The lack of variety in the makeup of the caretaker government in Afghanistan declared by the Taliban, as well as their "affiliations and track record," has been questioned by the US.

US Concerned About Taliban Caretaker Team's 'Track Record'
US Concerned About Taliban Caretaker Team's 'Track Record'

The United States has stated that it will evaluate the Taliban based on its "actions, not words." The lack of variety in the makeup of the caretaker administration proclaimed by the Taliban, as well as their "affiliations and track record," has alarmed the US, and doubts have been raised about Pakistan's growing involvement in supporting the new governance in Kabul.

“We are aware that the released list of names contains only men who are Taliban members or close associates, and no women. According to reports, a state department spokeswoman stated on Tuesday, "We are also worried about the affiliations and track records of some of the individuals." “We recognise that the Taliban has positioned this as a caretaker cabinet,” the statement continued. We shall, however, judge the Taliban by their conduct, not their words.” 

Sirajuddin Haqqani, the caretaker government's interior minister, is a wanted man in the United States, with a $10 million reward offered for information leading to his capture.According to the FBI, he is a "top leader of the Haqqani network with deep ties to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda." Haqqani has been branded as a "specially designated global terrorist." 

As is now evident, the Haqqani network is affiliated with the Taliban, and was even described by a top US general as a "virtual arm" of Pakistan's intelligence organisation, the ISI. The FBI is seeking Haqqani for questioning in connection with a hotel attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, in January 2008 that killed six people, including an American.

The FBI says Haqqani is believed to have coordinated and participated in cross-border attacks against the United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan. He also was involved allegedly in the planning of the assassination attempt on the Afghan president Hamid Karzai in 2008. Haqqani’s uncle Khalil al-Rahman Haqqani is the acting minister for refugees and was named a specially designated global terrorist by the United States in 2011. Mullah Abdul Haq Waseeq, the acting intelligence chief, was once a detainee at the US-run Guantanamo Bay jail. He was released in exchange for US Army soldier Bowe Bergdahl, who was kidnapped by the Taliban. 

Minister of border and tribal affairs Noorullah Noori was also held in Guantanamo Bay and was released in the same exchange as Bergdahl. The defence minister, Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, is the son of Mullah Omar, a Taliban co-founder and leader who was placed on the UN's Sanctions List. 

These are the guys on whom the Biden administration is relying to allow the Americans and Afghan friends still imprisoned in Afghanistan to go. They are also supposed to prevent jihadists from again using the country as a sanctuary”, The Wall Street Journal commented in an editorial caustically headlined, “Our Friends the Haqqanis”.

In social media posts from Afghanistan, Pakistan's support for the Taliban has been widely documented, particularly in relation to the fighting for control of the Panjshir Valley, which is home to the Northern Resistance Front, led by Ahmad Massoud, son of the legendary leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was assassinated by Al-Qaeda two days before the 9/11 attacks. 

“If verified, we must not only shut off all aid, but also impose sanctions. In a tweet, Adam Kinzinger, a Republican member of the House of Representatives, pointed to a Fox News reporter's post, saying, "Pakistan is now proving what they lied about for years: they created and protected the Taliban." ISI chief Lt General Faiz Hameed’s visit to Kabul to meet Taliban leaders last Saturday was widely noted and commented upon in media and social media and there have been allegations that Pakistani special forces are fighting alongside the Taliban in the Panjshir conflict.

Benjamin Hall, a Fox News reporter, had tweeted, citing a Centcom source, “The #Pakistani military are assisting the #Taliban offensive in #Panjshir - Including 27 helicopters full of Pakistani Special Forces, backed up by Pakistani #Drone strikes.”