Taliban co-founder arrives in Kabul to hammer out new govt as airport chaos grows

KABUL: Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar has arrived in Kabul for talks with other leaders to hammer out a new Afghan government, a Taliban official said on Saturday, almost a week after the militants took over the capital without resistance.

The Taliban completed their sudden advance across the country as U.S.-led forces pulled out, coinciding with what German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday said was the “breathtaking collapse” of the Afghan army.

Since then, thousands have thronged Kabul airport, with security worsening by the day, as Western nations struggle to ramp up the pace of evacuations of its citizens and vulnerable Afghans amid the chaos and reports of Taliban violence.

The Taliban official said that the group planned to ready a new model for governing Afghanistan within the next few weeks, with separate teams to tackle internal security and financial issues.

“Experts from the former government will be brought in for crisis management,” he told Reuters.

The new government structure would not be a democracy by Western definitions, but “it will protect everyone’s rights”, the official added.

Baradar will meet militant commanders, former government leaders and policy makers, as well as religious scholars among others, the official said without elaborating. – Reuters