Who is Mullah Hasan Akhund, the new acting PM of Afghanistan?

Who is Mullah Hasan Akhund, the new acting PM of Afghanistan?

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The Taliban named Mullah Hasan Akhund, an associate of the movement’s late founder Mullah Omar, as the head of Afghanistan’s new caretaker government on Tuesday. It also appointed Mullah Abul Ghani Baradar, head of the movement’s political office, as Akhund’s deputy.

Mullah Hasan is presently head of the Taliban’s powerful decision-making body—Rehbari Shura or leadership council— which serves much like a government Cabinet running all the group’s affairs subject to the approval of the top leader.

Originally from Kandahar, Hassan was one of the founding members of the armed movement. He worked for 20 years as head of Rehbari Shura and remained close to the Taliban’s supreme leader Maulvi Haibatullah Akhundzada.

In this Aug. 25, 1999 file photo, Mullah Hasan Akhund, right, then Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister is received by then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in Islamabad. (AP)

He had also served as foreign minister and deputy prime minister during the Taliban’s previous government in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

The Taliban have repeatedly sought to reassure Afghans and foreign countries that they will not return to the brutality of their last reign two decades ago, marked by brutal punishments and the barring of women and girls from public life.

(Inputs from agencies)

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