Afghanistan's Taliban rulers are preparing to announce their new government as the economy teeters on the edge of collapse more than two weeks after the group took control of the country last month.

Taliban official Ahmadullah Muttaqi said on social media that a ceremony was being prepared at the presidential palace in the capital Kabul, while private broadcaster Tolo said an announcement on a new government was imminent.

The legitimacy of the new government in the eyes of international donors and investors will be crucial for Afghanistan's economy as the country battles drought and the ravages of a conflict that took the lives of an estimated 240,000 Afghans.

The Taliban has promised to allow safe passage out of the country for any foreigners or Afghans left behind by the airlift that ended with the withdrawal of the last US troops on Monday, but with Kabul airport still closed many are seeking to flee overland to neighbouring countries.

A Qatari technical team is reported to have arrived in Kabul to discuss the resumption of operations at the airport, which would facilitate humanitarian assistance and further evacuations.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will visit Doha today to discuss the situation in Afghanistan with Qatar's emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Mr Raab's office said.

"The prospects of getting Kabul airport up and running and safe passage for foreign nationals and Afghans across land borders (are) top of the agenda," the British Foreign Office said in a statement.

The Taliban's supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, is expected to have ultimate power over a governing council, with a president below him, a senior Taliban official said last month.

He has three deputies: Mawlavi Yaqoob, son of the movement's late founder Mullah Omar; Sirajuddin Haqqani, leader of the powerful Haqqani network; and Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of the founding members of the group.

An unelected leadership council is how the Taliban ran its first government which enforced a radical form of Sharia law from 1996 until it was ousted by US-led forces in 2001.

The Taliban has tried to present a more moderate face to the world since it swept aside the US-backed government and returned to power last month, promising to protect human rights and refrain from reprisals against old enemies.

But the United States, the European Union and others have cast doubt on such assurances, saying formal recognition of the new government - and the economic aid that would flow from that - is contingent on action.


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"We're not going to take them at their word, we're going to take them at their deeds," US Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland told a news briefing.

"So they've got a lot to prove based on their own track record ... now they also have a lot to gain, if they can run Afghanistan, far, far differently than they did the last time they were in power."

Gunnar Wiegand, the European Commission's managing director for Asia and the Pacific, said the EU would not formally recognise the Taliban until it met conditions including the formation of an inclusive government, respect for human rights and unfettered access for aid workers.

"There is no doubt among (EU) member states and in the G7context: we need to engage with the Taliban, we need to communicate with the Taliban, we need to influence the Taliban, we need to make use of the leverages which we have," he told members of the European Parliament in Brussels.

"But we will not rush into recognising this new formation, nor into establishing official relations."

Humanitarian organisations have warned of catastrophe as severe drought and the upheavals of war have forced thousands of families to flee their homes.

Afghanistan desperately needs money, and the Taliban is unlikely to get swift access to the roughly €8.4 billion in assets mostly held abroad by the Afghan central bank.

The Taliban has ordered banks to reopen, but strict weekly limits on withdrawals have been imposed and there are long queues at banks.

"Everything is expensive now, prices are going up everyday," said Kabul resident Zelgai.

Taliban supporters in the city of Kandahar celebrate the US withdrawal from Afghanistan

Afghanistan's real gross domestic product is expected to shrink by 9.7% this financial year, with a further drop of 5.2% seen next year, said analysts in a report from Fitch Solutions, the research arm of ratings agency Fitch Group.

Foreign investment would be needed to support a more optimistic outlook, a scenario which assumed "some major economies, namely China and potentially Russia, would accept the Taliban as the legitimate government", Fitch said.

While the Taliban is cementing control of Kabul and provincial capitals, it is fighting with opposition groups and remnants of the Afghan army holding out in mountains north of the capital.

Senior Taliban leader Amir Khan Motaqi called on rebels in Panjshir province to surrender, saying "the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is home for all Afghans", referring to theTaliban-run state.

Opposition leader Ahmad Massoud, son of a former mujahideen commander who fought against the Taliban in northeastern Afghanistan in the late 1990s, told CNN his forces were fighting for a "decentralised state where power is equally distributed between the different ethnic and sectarian groups".

"Unfortunately, the Taliban have not changed, and they still are after dominance throughout the country," he said.