Mohammad Hassan Akhund was announced by the Taliban on Tuesday as interim prime minister of the new Afghan government. Although he is a relatively unknown figure, he will play an important role in the future of Afghanistan. This is the man who will lead the new government.

Because not much is known about Akhund and there are many unconfirmed stories about him circulating, there is little we can say with certainty about him. This is what we do know now.

Akhund already held a number of important positions in the former Taliban government, including that of head of government, between 1996 and 2001. He was also minister of Foreign Affairs. In 2001, the United States invaded Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks.

CNN-News18 reports, based on US intelligence documents, that the United States considers Akhund to be “one of the Taliban’s most ineffective and unreasonable leaders”. The new head of government is considered to be an important leader within the Taliban. He has been the head of Rehbari Shura, the Taliban’s powerful decision-making body, for 20 years. This body is comparable to the Cabinet of a country, but of the Taliban movement.

In addition, Akhund is said to have had close links with the late Mohammed Omar, one of the Taliban’s founders. Another co-founder, Abdul Ghani Baradar, becomes Akhund’s deputy in the new Taliban government.

The Taliban leader will lead the government for the time being under a spiritual leader, who will most likely have the final say on all important matters. Hibatullah Akhundzada is the intended Taliban spiritual leader. Akhund will lead the new government under him as interim prime minister.

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