Afghanistan's acting PM appeals to past govt officials to return

Afghanistans acting PM appeals to past govt officials to return

Peshawar/Kabul: Afghanistan's acting Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund has appealed to former officials of past governments to return to the country and assured them "full protection", saying the period of bloodbath is over and they face a humongous task to rebuild the war-ravaged nation.

"We paid a heavy price for seeing this historic moment in Afghanistan," Mullah Hasan said on Wednesday, a day after the hardline Islamic insurgents unveiled an interim Cabinet after seizing power in Kabul.

"We appeal to the officials of past governments to return to their country as we will give them full protection of their lives. We are faced with the huge task of rebuilding and reconstruction of war-ravaged Afghanistan," he said.

He said that the period of bloodbath was over in Afghanistan and reiterated the Taliban's promise of amnesty for anyone who has worked alongside the previous governments following the US led invasion in 2001, Al-Jazeera news channel reported.

The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan in mid-August, ousting the previous elected leadership which was backed by the West. The interim Cabinet is consists of high-profile members of the insurgent group.

Citing a Taliban spokesman, TOLO news reported that the new government will be led by the insurgent group's chief Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada. The spokesman did not disclose Mullah Hibatullah's designation in the interim government or his role in the state affairs.

At least 14 members of the Taliban's interim government are on the UN Security Council's terrorism blacklist, including acting Prime Minister Mullah Hasan and his both deputies. Specially designated global terrorist Sirajuddin Haqqani, who carries a reward of USD 10 million US bounty on his head, is the acting interior minister.

Meanwhile, America's Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns on Thursday met Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and ISI head Lt Gen Faiz Hamid during which they discussed issues related to regional security issues and the current situation in Afghanistan, the military said.

Burns and Bajwa exchanged views on matters of mutual interest, regional security and the current situation in Afghanistan, the Pakistan Army's media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said in a statement.

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