Taliban spokesman says new Afghan gov't to be announced in days

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said here on Monday that a new Afghan government will be announced in the next few days, after confirming that the group has taken over Panjshir, the only province that had remained out of Taliban's control.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP

Afghanistan might form a caretaker government as the preparation was underway to announce the new administration, Mujahid told a press conference.

"The new administration might be in the form of a caretaker government. It is a suggestion, it is possible, if we have a caretaker government, so there will be place for bringing changes or reforms in the government's frame," he said.

Details and date of formation for the new government will be shared soon, as there were some technical issues left. "It is a matter of days, the new government will be announced very soon," said the spokesman.

The announcement came after some Taliban sources were in the view that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, political chief and co-founder of the Taliban, will lead the new government.

Mujahid said the government will be all-inclusive and expressed hope that the people of Afghanistan will help in the country's transition.

Ex-Afghan military officials will be invited to join the security departments in the new government, said the spokesman.

He also made it clear that Taliban hopes to have strong relations with neighboring countries.

There were no civilian casualties during the fighting in Panjshir, the spokesman said, adding that electricity and the internet will resume in the province soon.

In the meantime, the so-called National Resistance Front of Afghanistan led by Ahmad Massoud, the son of former anti-Taliban leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, has so far denied the Taliban's claim of capturing Panjshir. Massoud said on Twitter that he is safe.

Declaring that the war in Afghanistan is over, Mujahid said the Kabul airport will be fully functioning soon. He asked for patience as the group tries to establish international flights.

Meanwhile, Mujahid said he was told that Vice President Amrullah Saleh has fled to Tajikistan.

Panjshir, some 200 km north of Kabul, had been the last province in Afghanistan uncontrolled by the Taliban after the group captured most of Afghanistan's territories since early August in its blitz attacks, including the capital of Kabul.

The last U.S. soldiers were evacuated from Afghanistan at mid-night on Aug. 30, one day before the Aug. 31 deadline set by U.S. President Joe Biden, ending 20 years of U.S.-led invasion into the country.

At a press conference held on Aug. 18, the first since Taliban's takeover of the capital Kabul, Mujahid said the Taliban wants to have good relations with everybody to develop the country's economy and achieve prosperity.

The Taliban supreme leader had declared a general amnesty, promising to ensure the safety of the contractors and translators who had worked for the United States and allied forces, the government soldiers who had been fighting the Taliban for years, and those whose families were attempting to leave Afghanistan, Mujahid has said.

He has said women could work and study in different fields within the framework of sharia or Islamic law, and they would be offered all rights within the Islamic principles, because women are vital parts of the society.