Afghan writer and political Analyst based in Kabul
[ Editor’s Note: You will see in the two proposed gas pipeline pending options below some obvious security differences. The Turkmenistan option has to traverse Western Afghanistan where it would be held hostage all along the way to transport shakedowns by official government entities, plus attacks from those out of power looking to be paid off not to attack the pipeline.
Iran has already built its section to the Pakistani border which will be totally secure and easy to patrol as it is over wide open land. Both options have to go through Baluchistan where it would be at similar risk to insurgent shakedowns or pipeline bombings.
And lastly the portion through the rest of Pakistan would also be at continual risk, not just from jihadis but the foreign Intel agencies and retired rogue elements for whom bombing pipelines for a futures options hustle to make a few tens of millions is mere child’s play, the Israelis having done this for years to provide some off the books funding for “special projects”.
Multiple parties want to block one of the other route. And then there is the future Russian energy pipeline that would come in through Northern India, a very difficult route but easier to secure doing a major war because it is deep in the interior of Asian.
India needs both a western and the Russian options long term, unless the big nuclear deal just agreed do is designed to take pressure of the need for huge gas imports. The West’s [US] Asia Pivot threat has diverted badly needed infrastructure capital for the region into military expenditures, which may be part of the short sighted US strategy.
But once the Eurasian military cooperation has been robustly completed in terms of quantity and quality of defensive weapons, then there will be the added bonus of being able to protect this infrastructure during a major war, and the Silk Road passage to boot, which in itself will be the largest infrastructure project in the world for the next generation.
And while Western defensive spending is highly concentrated as to who benefits from it, Eurasia’s will have a much more substantial trickle down effect, and more cost effective. This will of course be deemed a “threat” by the warmongers in the West and they will shake down their taxpayers for the next generation of superweapons which will have super cost overruns, the F-35 being the classic example of a runaway program that cannot be stopped once started… Jim W. Dean ]
Mr. Mutawakkil, the foreign minister of the Taliban government always tells that the main reason behind lack of unity between the parties of Afghan Mujahedeen were the numbers of and disputes between these parties; the unity of those parties were not lasting for a long time, and they were disrupting after a while and were causing a new party to become established. Every unity was reasoning a new split.
The coming of American forces to Afghanistan and wide presence of American and British spy circles have extensively worked for making split, and due for that created hundreds of parties; among them, however, are some parties that work for dissension, and have received funds from foreign countries’ embassies in order to continue their activities. Among the new established parties are those who do not have tens of members even in Kabul!
There was a plan to weaken or if possible, to eliminate the well-known and big parties of former Mujahedeen; for America and British, however, in our traditional and illiterate society, it was hard in order for former Jihadi parties to be replaced with Liberal and Secular parties.
Mullah Mohammad Omar Akhund, the late leader of the Taliban, once had said a very good saying: “old wares will not become useful even if they are colored and looked new”.
Last week, a council of former Mujahedeen named “Protection and Stability” announced its existence; it, however, has not appointed its leadership, but Prof. Sayyaf is being respected for achieving political goals because he is the most eloquent and brave member of this council.
The important members of this council are; Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal, the leader of Hizb-i Islami (Kabul), Mohammad Younus Qanoni, the former Vice-President of the Afghan President and the former speaker of Wolesi Jirga (the Lower House of the Parliament), Bismillah Mohammad, the former defense minister, Ismail Khan, the former water and energy minister, Abdurrauf Ibrahimi, the Speaker of Wolesi Jirga, Fazal Hadi Muslimyar, the speaker of Meshrani Jirga (the Upper House of the Parliament), Mohammad Omar Daudzai, the former interior minister and Sadiq Muddabir, the senior official in the Karzai administration.
At the beginning, all of the above-mentioned personalities except Prof. Sayyaf were trying to encourage Karzai in order to establish an opposition against Ghani’s government; Karzai, however, advised them that Prof. Sayyaf should lead them; they, at a large extent, were heading this process with Karzai, and Karzai was wishing to work together for holding traditional Loya Jirga (Grand Gathering of Afghan leaders/elders) in order for this Loya Jirga to nominate a new personality for the leadership of Afghanistan.
After the Taliban seized control over Kunduz, the above-mentioned individuals except Karzai had meetings with Ghani and they were requesting for positions in security fields including the Defense Ministry, the Interior Ministry and the National Directorate of Security (NDS) as well as in the National Security Council (NSC) to be provided to them; in addition to this, the High Peace Council (HPC) will be given to them, also.
Ghani defeated Karzai
The first attempt of Ghani, who has smart advisors on playing games with political players, before succeeding Karzai’s plans, was that the eight parties of Mujahedeen held a gathering under the banner of “Reforming and Supporting the Government” and gave a strike to Prof. Sayyaf and his friends, and split Karzai and his team. Besides that, he was trying to split Prof. SAyyaf and the North Coalition; therefore, the presidency of HPC was presented to Younus Qanoni; As Qanoni accepted it, but it is said that there were two reasons that made Younus Qanoni to retreat:
First: Younus Qanoni was demanding that if he is providing with the presidency of HPC, he should have absolute power and authority, and other officials should not intervene in his work. Most of the people think that the practical process of peace is headed by NSC and the HPC is kept as a symbol only.
Second: Prof. Sayyaf had told Younus Qanoni that accepting the presidency of HPC only is not a good job and that you should not agree until our entire demands are accepted; hence, Ghani was not able to split between Prof. Sayyaf and members of the North Coalition.
The demands of “Protection and Stability” group, to a large extent, was same to Karzai’s demands, however, they were not fully the same; therefore, the friends of Karzai were with this group until the start of the program, however, after Prof. Sayyaf and his friends did not call for establishing an interim government or appointing a new leader that were the demands of Karzai’s friends; so, some friends of Karzai left the gathering.
Now, Karzai is not standing with them, and perhaps, this gathering of “Protection and Stability” would not have a lot of impact because those people have lost their reputation several times.
Are they Afraid of TAPI?!
Some questions are asked by the people that are those who use the title “Mujahedeen” are left Mujahedeen? Are the entire groups of Mujahedeen support them? Where the expenses of these gathering came from? Considering the past, they do not spend by their own.
Also, they need expenses; if they grab aids from Russia, India and Iran again, it would mean the continuation of war and problems. The announcement of their existence and threating come alongside the inauguration of TAPI project, it creates questions, because there are still some regional countries and circles that struggle to prevent the TAPI project.
One of the countries that was not satisfied with transferring gas of Turkmenistan via Afghanistan was Iran. Iran wished for this gas to be transferred to South Asia through Iran instead of Afghanistan. However, that route was long and fortunately, the route of Afghanistan was somehow shorter. This probability cannot be denied that Iran, with start and warm welcome of the TAPI project, would stand behind such a new political process, because Iran wanted the TAPI project to be transferred through Iran.
They were talking about national unity, also; however, the national unity should be presented in every field; in the case, there were former Mujahedeen only and the people from other views and groups were not seen alongside them.
People are still not sure about this group that where it would head, because the rivalry of Prof. Sayyaf and Younus Qanoni on speakership of Wolesi Jirga for two times made Younus Qanoni not to accept the leadership of Prof. Sayyaf, and for the second, if Younus Qanoni was agreed, Prof. Sayyaf would become the speaker of Wolesi Jirga; due to their disputes, however, Ibrahimi became speaker of Wolesi Jirga, then.
One of my best friends was sometimes saying that Prof. Sayyaf stood at the side of Prof. Burhanuddin Rabbani and Ahmad Shah Masoud during civil war in Kabul because Sayyaf was thinking that he would become President after Rabbani, and some day, Ahmad Shah Massoud has told him that you are our next leader.
If we look at the truth of Dr. Abdullah with Sayyaf, he, however, did not accept his request in order for him to be provided with a ministry and he, despite great perseverance of Sayyaf, did not appoint his man as the Minister of Education.
It is also a question that they, in different eras, have opposed groups and government since 40 years; however, until today, their every opposition and attempt is fruitless.
It is all correct that Hekmatyar-led Hizb-i Islami Party (HIG) was out of Kabul in past 14 years; however, a lot of HIG members were/are meanwhile the members of coalitions in Kabul. Mr. Hekmatyar and his partisans were members and breakers of the coalitions in the past.
The important point is that several similar coalitions, especially in the past one and half decade, have been made under the great banners, however, their survival is challenging. Meaning that, we have not got any coalition in past 14 years that has continued till now, or has worked for a great joint aim. Dostum, Mohaqqiq and Zia Massoud’s National Front and Abdullah’s National Coalitions are examples of them.
A great repugnance in this coalition that could split and sprinkle it existence of people like Daoudzai, Sayyaf and Qanoni who considers themselves as leader and want other to follow them, and every one of them want become the next political leader or President. This disunion and political dissension weakens the base of this coalition, and even questions the existence philosophy of it.
Now, the claim that they are going to reform the government, their “experiences” should be get used of. In recent 14 years, when they were part of the government and senior officials of it, they could not provide security in the presence of 150000 soldiers of America and NATO and 300000 contracted soldiers, so, what would we expect from them now, then.
As they say their “experiences” should be get used of, have they got any successful experience from the past, it is OK if they say they have experience of war, however, they have lost war every time; if they mention the war against USSR, Khalq and Parcham, it was a nation’s war.
The slogans they were repeating their opposition is stayed the same; they had opposed King Zahir when he was at power, however, we, then, witnessed red carpets to King Zahir by them.
Mr. Mutawakkil says that the peace negotiations finalized between the North Coalition and their allies in Tashkent, all the terms were agreed upon; however, in the latest moments, Dr. Abdullah said that the power should be transferred to Kind Zahir, which was not accepted to the Taliban.
Their opposition with Daoud Khan made him to ask Communists for help; if they, who were playing political games under than banner of Brother Hood, established an understanding with him, perhaps, former Communists would not have chance to do coup; and there were they who were killing those who were saying that an understanding should be made with Daoud Khan.
There were they who had extreme enmity with former Khalqs and Parchams, and they were killing the old father of Khalqi and Parchami, who did not know about the goals of Kahlq and Parcham, for the crime of his sons, and some of them killed even their brothers that had Khalqi and Parchmi ideas. However, we, then, witnessed them working with former Khalqs and Parchams on the same desk; the secretary of Mujahed Minister was a former Afghan girl employee of KGB and the Mujahedeen, to a large extent, were involved in corruption.
The 4-year term of former Mujahedeen had made the nation to be in the highest point of the hopelessness; at that time, President was Prof. Rabbani, the Defense Minister was Ahmad Shah Massoud, the Interior Minister was Younus Qanoni and the Prime Minister was Eng. Ahmad Sha Ahmadzai.
From the team of Prof. Sayyaf and Ahmad Shah Massoud against Prof. Abdul Ali Mazari are yet to be forgotten; also, the people still remember the fighting between the Nazar Council and Hizb-i Islami; it was their incorrect actions that eventually caused the Taliban to emerge.
If the book “CIA in Panjshir” is read, the friendship of America with and usage of them by America is well understood, then.
The nation asks, to when these individuals would stay in power, and when they would leave their work to the youth. They do not have youth in their parties? and whether they have youth in their parties from Daoud Khan’s era until today or not? Where is their youth branch? Whether they won’t give chance to youth until they die? In the case, they cannot do anything now.
The nation would trust them again if they believed that they worked for freedom, indolence, peace, security and the bright future of Afghans, but that nation has lost its trust in them.
Up to 120,000 Afghan youth flee the country due to their violence, power monopoly and land grabbing; if there was work, security, peace and land for these youth, our young talents would not go away, whose sarcasm was given to President Ghani even in Germany.
Their struggles are only for keeping their power, not for providing peace and security. They, unfortunately, see their interests in war; in the case, they, to a large extent, would benefit in peace and security.
Fear from the Taliban…
If they are afraid of the Taliban that they would remove them from political scene forever, the former Khalqs and Parchams should be taken care at first place, then; their fear is baseless. I think that Taliban think of system to be established that the entire people of Afghanistan, political parties, tribes and sides would see them in it.
If they have the fear of removal from the political scene, the former Mujahedeen, then, should refer to the nation in order to do mediation between them and the Taliban that whether the Taliban, who are Afghan and Muslim, are better to be made peace with or the soldiers of America and NATO that they, in order to protect themselves, want their presence in the country.
They repeat slogans of national values, territorial sovereignty, social and economic stability, security and peace, struggles against corruption, disunity, terrorism and narcotics; although, their actions are completely against their above-mentioned slogans, and Mr. Arghandiwal adds that we do not leave corrupt people and we do struggle against corruption; however, his own people in the Karzai Administration were and on the side of NUG’s CEO are involved in corruption, and a lot of those who are accused of big cases of corruption were sitting on his side in this day.
Briefly, the respect and proud of former Mujahedeen is in that they should pave the ground for withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and take practical steps in the peace process with entire armed oppositions; if they do not do so, as they do not have place in the government, some day they would be the target of foreigners and they would not have opportunity to call for peace, then.