The newly-formed Taliban government is an interim one and will include women, minorities and professionals over a period of time, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed told reporters in Kabul on Tuesday, even as the group unveiled a new all-male list of deputy ministers.
The group is working to add women in government positions and to improve its cabinet with the addition of experts, Mujahed said, even though he gave no time-frame for when this would happen.
The comments appear to be at odds with the Taliban government’s move last week to open schools only for boys. The Ministry of Education then made no mention of girls being allowed to resume classes, signalling that there may be restrictions on them, contrary to what the group had promised earlier.
Mujahed said the group was working to put in place a plan for women to work and study but gave no details on when that would happen.
The Taliban announced an all-male interim government on September 7 that included no one from outside the militant group, with about 90% of spots going to ethnic Pashtuns. In the press briefing on Tuesday, Mujahed unveiled a new list of deputy ministers – all of whom were men.
The international community has been hesitant to grant legitimacy to the new government, and on Tuesday Mujahed said the Taliban was in talks with Pakistan and Qatar to work through diplomatic channels in order to get international recognition.
That recognition is crucial to the government as it seeks international aid and lobbies to get access to its reserves in order to shore of the country’s battered economy.
“We are using all our diplomatic efforts” for the release of the $9.5 billion (€8 billion) in frozen reserves held in US accounts, said Mujahed, adding that the country’s current revenues from customs are just “enough” to pay the government employees.