Taliban's new education minister says PhD, Master's degrees ‘not valuable’
The Taliban regime, which unveiled a caretaker government in Afghanistan on Tuesday, is doing exactly what the people of the country and the world feared. Shortly after being named as Afghanistan's education minister, Taliban leader Sheikh Molvi Noorullah Munir questioned the relevance of higher education.
In a video widely circulated on social media, the minister is heard saying, "No PhD degree, Master's degree is valuable today. You see that the mullahs and Taliban that are in the power, have no PhD, MA or even a high school degree, but are the greatest of all."
Munir is one of the 33 members of the government announced by Taliban on Tuesday. While Mullah Mohammad Hassan has been named as the prime minister, "specially designated global terrorist" Sirajuddin Haqqani - the leader of the feared Haqqani network - has been named the interior minister.
All the top positions in the cabinet were handed to key leaders from the movement and the Haqqani network - the most violent faction of the Taliban known for devastating attacks.
Mullah Yaqoob, the son of the Taliban founder and late supreme leader Mullah Omar, was named the defence minister.
Co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar, who oversaw the signing of the US withdrawal agreement in 2020, was appointed deputy prime minister.
None of the government appointees were women.
Hibatullah Akhundzada, the secretive supreme leader of the Taliban, released a statement saying that the new government would "work hard towards upholding Islamic rules and sharia law".
However, analysts said the new lineup indicated little had in fact changed.
"The new Taliban, same as the old Taliban," tweeted Bill Roggio, managing editor of the US-based Long War Journal.
"It's not at all inclusive, and that's no surprise whatsoever," said Michael Kugelman, a South Asia expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
The announcement of the cabinet came more than two weeks after the Taliban ousted the civilian government headed by Ashraf Ghani and seized power by force in Afghanistan.