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UN-designated terrorist Sirajuddin Haqqani is part of interim Taliban government (Representational)United Nations: Many members in the “de facto” Taliban administration in Afghanistan, including the prime minister and foreign minister, are designated by the United Nations, and the Security Council needs to decide steps on the sanctions list, a top UN official has said as she warned that the ISIL-K remains active and “could gain strength”.Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ Special Representative for Afghanistan Deborah Lyons, who is also the head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, said: “We are faced, as of two days ago, with a de facto administration announced by the Taliban”.Those who hoped for and urged for inclusivity will be disappointed. There are no women in the names listed. There are no non-Taliban members, no figures from the past government, nor leaders of minority groups, she said.Instead, it contains many of the same figures who were part of the Taliban leadership from 1996 to 2001, Lyons told the Security Council debate on Afghanistan on Thursday.”What is of immediate and practical importance to those around this table is that of the 33 names presented, many are on the United Nations sanctions list, including the prime minister, the two deputy prime ministers, and the foreign minister. All of you will need to decide which steps to take regarding the sanctions list, and the impact on future engagement,” she said.The Taliban announced a hardline interim government led by Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund, chief of the Taliban’s powerful decision-making body “Rehbari Shura”.He will be the Acting Prime Minister while Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will be his deputy in the “new Islamic government”, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said at a news conference in Kabul.The announcement of key figures in the caretaker government comes weeks after the Taliban seized control of war-torn Afghanistan, ousting the previous elected leadership which was backed by the West.UN-designated terrorist Sirajuddin Haqqani is also part of the interim Taliban government.Haqqani, a specially designated global terrorist and son of the famous anti-Soviet warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani who founded the Haqqani Network, is the new acting interior minister in the 33-member Cabinet that has no woman member.Haqqani has been one of two deputy leaders of the Taliban since 2016 and has a USD 10 million US bounty on his head.Khalil Haqqani, Sirajuddin’s uncle, was appointed as acting minister for refugees. Two other members of the Haqqani clan were also named to positions in the interim government, indicating the hand of Pakistan in the Taliban-run government.Lyons said that the new reality is that the lives of millions of Afghans will depend on how the Taliban will choose to govern.”But we must ask ourselves: what can we do and what must we do? The answers I have for you are not comfortable. They present real dilemmas and will require united leadership from the Security Council, from the Member States that comprise the Council, from the neighbouring countries, and from the international community more broadly,” she said.Lyons cautioned that the impact of these recent developments in Afghanistan is also felt beyond the Afghan borders.”Many countries around Afghanistan are apprehensive about how Taliban rule will affect their own security. They fear the effect of an expanded Islamic State that the Taliban cannot contain. They fear a wave of refugees coming across their borders. They fear the consequences of the large number of arms left behind in Afghanistan.”They fear that the Taliban will be unable to stem the illegal economy and the flow of drugs from Afghanistan. It is indeed most important now that the region uses its available mechanisms to not just speak with one voice but act in concert for the benefit of the entire region,” she said.Emphasising the importance of the wider international community not becoming irrevocably divided, she said that there is now a more urgent agenda for regional and international cooperation around Afghanistan.”Without it, the negative repercussions will be felt near and far and will be much more difficult to address later on,” Lyons warned.”A key part of this agenda is counter-terrorism. Al-Qaeda members remain in Afghanistan, visibly welcomed and sheltered by the de facto Taliban authorities. Islamic State Khorasan Province remains active and could gain strength.”Concerns on these essential matters of international terrorism will not be allayed simply by Taliban promises. On this issue, the region and the wider international community share a clear common and critical interest,” she said.The ISIL-K (The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province) carried out a gruesome attack at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul and at a hotel nearby last month.Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul’s airport last month, killing at least 60 Afghans and 13 US troops.Drawing the Council’s attention to an “additional, looming crisis”, Lyons said billions of assets and donor funds have been frozen by members of the international community.”The understandable purpose is to deny these funds to the de facto Taliban administration. The inevitable effect, however, will be a severe economic downturn that could throw many more millions into poverty and hunger, may generate a massive wave of refugees from Afghanistan, and indeed set Afghanistan back for generations,” she said.With the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan’s mandate due for renewal in about a week, Lyons said: “You as members of the Security Council are, like us, still evaluating the new situation. I look forward to our ongoing discussions regarding the UN’s role in Afghanistan at this critical time and as we move forward”.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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