Taliban to hold 'oath-taking ceremony' on September 11th
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The Taliban could inflame tensions with the US amid reports that the militant group will hold a swearing-in ceremony for its new interim cabinet on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Reports on Indian broadcaster WION as well as in Russian media claim that invitations for the ceremony have been sent out to countries including China, Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, Qatar, India, and even the US. The timing could see militants on the FBI’s most-wanted list join the cabinet while America remembers the terror attacks of 11 September 2001, which killed 2,977 victims.
A ceremony is being planned in Kabul but it remains unclear whether the timing is deliberate on the part of the Taliban.
On Wednesday, state-owned Russian news agency RIA Novosti cited an unnamed Taliban source claiming the group’s cabinet would be sworn in on September 11.
Just two weeks, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid raised alarm after he suggested that there was no proof that Osama bin Laden was involved in the 9/11 attacks.
He told NBC News: “When Osama bin Laden became an issue for the Americans, he was in Afghanistan. Although there was no proof he was involved.”
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Despite the ceremony for the new interim executive, few countries have recognised the Taliban government in Afghanistan as legitimate despite pleas.
The Taliban have demanded recognition and have urged the countries to reopen their embassies.
They insist that recognition of the Taliban government was part of the Doha peace agreement signed with the US.
However, the named interim Prime Minister, Mohammad Hassan Akhund, is under UN sanctions.
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Sirajuddin Haqqani, named as the acting Interior Minister, is on the FBI’s most-wanted list with a bounty of $10 million on his head.
Khalil Haqqani, appointed as the Minister for Refugees, has a $5 million bounty.
The new regime has been named the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan (IEA).
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Bruno Maçães, a leading political analyst, said the date would mark a “humiliation” for the Biden administration.
He tweeted: “The humiliation of having the Taliban inaugurate a government on 9/11, twenty years later to the day, full of the FBI’s most-wanted list is hard to overestimate.”
At the same time, US President Joe Biden is set to visit all three 9/11 memorial sites to mark the attack’s 20th anniversary.
He will visit Lower Manhattan, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania to commemorate those lost on the day.
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