The U.S. State Department openly expressed its concerns over the lineup of Taliban members that will be leading Afghanistan's interim government. The agency pointed out the obvious lack of female leaders and the inclusion of some members with past terrorism-related criminal records.
The agency said Tuesday that Afghan people deserve to have an inclusive government, where everyone - male or female - is given the right to lead. A spokesperson for the agency said the Taliban had made a lot of promises, but how they will be judged will greatly depend on their actions and not their words.
The people on the list of new government leaders exclusively are members of the Taliban and their close associates. No woman is on the list, which has raised questions on whether the Taliban could keep its promise of treating women and girls equally within the new government.
The Taliban are notorious for their strict interpretation of Muslim law, which takes away women's freedoms such as going to school or going outside without a male companion.
Apart from the lack of female representatives in the interim government, the State Department also pointed out that some of the names on the list were individuals with criminal track records. One of the names on the list is Sarajuddin Haqqan, who has been appointed as the country's acting interior minister.
Haqqan is currently wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for his involvement in the 2008 attack of a hotel in Kabul, which killed six people - including a U.S. citizen. The U.S. currently has a bounty of $10 million for information leading to his arrest.
Afghanistan's interim government will be led by Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund and Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar.
The U.S. currently does not recognize the Taliban as Afghanistan's legitimate ruler. Biden administration officials are still in contact with Taliban leaders to coordinate the safe return of Americans, Afghan-Americans, and Afghan refugees.
Despite the deadline for the U.S.'s withdrawal from the country already expiring, officials said they are still holding the Taliban to their commitments to allow the safe passage of refugees with valid travel documents to their agreed-upon destinations. The U.S. is also holding the Taliban responsible for ensuring that the country is not used as a base of operations for any groups that wish to harm the American people and its allies.