“You know, I think the whole international community was hopeful that they would be inclusive as they kind of said they would be weeks and months ago, but we’ve not seen evidence of that early on,” Austin said, referring to the Taliban’s announcement of its new government, which does not include a single woman.
The Taliban revealed its new government this week, which will be led by Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. The group also appointed Sarajuddin Haqqani, a radical Islamist who is the head of a militant terrorist group known as the Haqqani network, as its acting interior minister.
When asked whether the U.S. would respond to the Taliban’s appointment of Haqqani, who is believed to be holding at least one American hostage, Austin said: “We don’t get a choice” in who the Taliban chooses, but there are “certainly … people that … I don’t look favorably upon.”
Several other Biden administration officials have expressed similar disappointment that the Taliban hasn’t made an effort to be more “inclusive.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that the Taliban’s new government will not earn “international legitimacy.”
“We’re assessing the announcement but despite professing that a new government would be inclusive, the announced list of names consists exclusively of individuals who are members of the Taliban or their close associates, and no women,” Blinken said.
“The Taliban seek international legitimacy and support,” he continued. “Any legitimacy, any support, will have to be earned.”