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A new Taliban interim government drawn exclusively from loyalist ranks formally began work on Wednesday morning, with established hardliners in all key posts and no women despite previous promises to form an inclusive administration for all Afghans.
The Taliban are already facing opposition to their rule, even as they transition from militant force to governing power, they have been troubled with scattered protests — many with women at the forefront — breaking out in cities across the country.
A small rally in the capital on Wednesday was quickly dispersed by armed Taliban security, while Afghan media reported a protest in the northeastern city of Faizabad was also broken up.
Hundreds protested on Tuesday, both in the capital and in the city of Herat, where two people at the demonstration site were shot dead.
The announcement of a government Tuesday night was a key step in the Taliban’s consolidation of power over Afghanistan, following a stunning military victory that saw them oust the US-backed administration on August 15.
Notorious for their brutal and oppressive rule from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban had promised a more inclusive government this time.
However, all the top positions were handed to key leaders from the movement and the Haqqani network — the most violent faction of the Taliban known for devastating attacks.
Even as the Taliban consolidate power, they face the monumental task of ruling Afghanistan, which is wracked with economic woes and security challenges — including from the Islamic State group’s local chapter.
A growing number of protests have emerged across the country over the past week, with many Afghans fearful of a repeat of the Taliban’s previous reign.
The Taliban spokesman on Tuesday warned the public against taking to the streets, adding that journalists should not cover any demonstrations.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK