View Full Version : Afghan politics (catch all, so includes talking to the Taliban)

11-16-2009, 04:12 PM
This has some interesting materials available at http://www.tribalanalysiscenter.com/Research-Completed.html

My understanding of what has happened to the tribal structure is pretty much the same. There has been an ongoing tension between the basic structure and the imposed Islamic structure for over a century now, but it really got out of whack during the 1980's and 1990's. This process has been accelerated also by the development of the camps in Peshwar and the diasporic community around the world. As far being destrabilizing factors are concerned, the diasporic community and the Taleban are almost opposites in many ways.



12-30-2014, 07:24 PM
This is the second of the five new threads on Afghanistan for 2015 onwards, its focus is Afghan politics (catch all, so includes talking to the Taliban)

There are a number of OEF threads now closed on these themes, too many to link to now. Many revolve around former President Karazai, talking to the Taliban and Afghan society.

I do appreciate that there can be cross-over between the new threads. After my recent reading, albeit focussed on Helmand Province (with its small population) that Afghanistan is far from a simple place and there is much to gain from reading the wisdom gained since 2001.

01-28-2015, 10:31 PM
An interesting development, especially as the leader has a particular CV:
He was held for seven years in Guantanamo Bay detention centre and was released in 2007 and flown back to Kabul where he remained under Afghan governmentís observation. But Rauf fled to Quetta, the capital of Pakistanís Balochistan province, and was appointed as a member of Talibanís Quetta Council and head of the military council.However, he developed differences with the Taliban and was expelled from the movement before joining the IS.

05-26-2015, 01:26 PM
A USMC veteran of Helmand has a short WoTR column on the murder by the Taliban of a 'brother':
...a murder in Afghanistan received little global attention. But this loss, and the leadership void it leaves in Helmand provinceís Nawa district ó one of the few indisputable success stories of the fourteen year war in Afghanistan ó is a blow for progress and hope in the embattled country.

(Later)...He particularly loved the Marines and was awestruck as he comprehended the fact that these young warriors had left their families to fight for people they had never met in a foreign land.

09-01-2015, 12:55 PM
A short commentary by Ahmed Rashid via the BBC:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-34107965

09-01-2015, 04:37 PM
Utopian fantasies.
Afghanistan's current regime has to hold the country or it will descend into decades of fresh civil war. If President Ghani is totally not the man for the job then this govt may fall and it can all go to hell... If he is middlingly possibly workable, then interested powers (aka NATO) will have to manipulate stuff to make his job easier and to guide him where he is not on the right path (yes, that their guidance would be shrewd and smart enough does sound implausible).

At Afghanistan's current level of development the existing institutions have be built up...or if they are torn down, they are torn down as part of some very calculated (and cold blooded) plan whose short term steps pay lip service to many ideals that its centralized, calculating, shrewd operator does not YET mean to uphold completely in practice (I am not saying such operators exist...just that on general principles, that would be needed).

All of which is not rocket science. It is how things have worked out (or failed to work out) in many places in history.

Which means Ahmed Rashid's article may be exactly what is needed, IF the actual motivations, maneuvers and clever short term plans that lie behind it go well beyond an open-ended grand jirga and XYZ. But if "what you see is what you get" then this article sounds like a joke.

Makes sense?

12-07-2015, 10:49 PM
For some he is a typical Afghan warlord, for others a war criminal and a man who still has a part to play in governance.

From our ocassional contributor Hamid Hussain a book review of Brian Glyn Williams book 'The Last Warlord'. Published in 2013.

The Last Warlord by Brian Glyn Williams is the life story of Abdul Rashid Dostum; a former Afghan warlord and current First Vice President of Afghanistan. Dostum is an excellent case study specimen for any researcher who wants to understand the sanguine history of Afghanistan of the last three decades. No actor has performed so many roles even in movies which Dostum has done in real life. A plumber, oil and gas rig worker, wrestler, meteoric rise from a petty local militia commander to a general commanding a Corps, warlord, deputy defense minister, presidential candidate, chief of staff to President of Afghanistan and now First Vice President of Afghanistan.
Brian’s work gives a friendly account of Dostum’s life and author admits that ‘he might be able to help Dostum get his story out’. Many exaggerated stories about the venality of Dostum are given a thorough scrubbing. The final story which emerges presents Dostum as a moderate secular leader who is trying to get fair share for his ethnic Uzbek community in Afghanistan. This is only partly true and there are hundred shades of grey.

Dostum started his career as oil and gas worker and later joined Afghan army. He was affiliated with the Parcham (Banner) faction of Afghan Communists. He served with 444 Commando unit. In 1970s and 80s, Dostum fought against rebels (Mujahedeen) as local militia commander. He was a successful commander and soon his command rapidly expanded from a battalion (kandak) to a division (53rd Division) and finally a Corps (7th Corps). He led his tough Uzbek fighters called Jowzjani Militia (called Gilamjam or carpet thieves by adversaries) from the front in battlefields all over Afghanistan. Dostum was sent to every front when fighting got tough and he proved to be an able commander in countless battles. He was known for frontal assaults that resulted in heavy casualties and in the long run caused war weariness among his fellow Uzbeks.

Dostum was no boy scout but his allies and opponents were also not representatives of Jeffersonian democracy. Almost all were unscrupulous rascals obsessed with power with no consideration for their countrymen. They happily destroyed every standing building of their country looting even the furniture of schools of their children as war booty. They destroyed more mosques in thirty years than all the foreigners combined who passed through their lands over centuries. All were responsible for unspeakable atrocities against their own people killing and maiming hundreds of thousands and raping boys and girls. This is the most shameful chapter of Afghan history which every Afghan conveniently forgets.

Outsiders are perplexed at the most intriguing factor of shifting alliances of Afghan clients. Dostum is no different than any other Afghan leader and master of byzantine intrigues. In 1998, Dostum entertained an American delegation in his fiefdom to be followed by a delegation of Iranian intelligence agents. He fought alongside communists and Soviet army considered his men as the most reliable partners in fight against Mujahedeen. In 1992, when President Najibullah became orphan after the cessation of Soviet aid, Dostum join hands with Ahmad Shah Massoud to overthrow Najibullah and then fought against Gulbadin Hikmatyar. When he was not given a seat at Kabul, he waited for the right time to strike. Two years later, he joined hands with Hikmatyar to try to overthrow President Burhanuddin Rabbani’s government and fought against Massoud. For a short while, he rented his air force to Taliban when they were ousting warlord of Herat Ismail Khan. Later, he tried to stop the rising tide of Taliban in the north and after betrayal of some fellow Uzbeks, found refuge in Turkey. After September 11, 2001, he rushed back home and with the help of a handful CIA paramilitary officers and Special Forces troops was instrumental in rapid rollover of Taliban authority all over Afghanistan. Dostum was used and discarded and he in turn used and discarded many patrons including Russia, United Sates, Uzbekistan, Iran and Turkey.

Americans later tried to put former warlords in the pen removing them from powerful positions and marginalizing them. However, local power plays dictated differently. Americans wanted Dostum away from Afghanistan during 2009 Presidential elections and asked Turkish officials to keep him in Turkey for an extended exile. Dostum was cooling his heels as Chief of Staff to the President but effectively under house arrest and later enjoying Turkish hospitality. President Hamid Karzai needed Uzbek votes for 2009 elections and despite warnings from the Americans, Karzai brought Dostum back and got his support. The same act was repeated in 2014, when Ashraf Ghani nominated Dostum as his running mate.

To Dostum’s credit at least he accepts his own role in the painful recent past of his country. He told Brian that “It’s time for a new generation who don’t have blood on their hands to build our nation. Perhaps it is fitting that I am my people’s last warlord”. One only wish that his words prove be true as Afghans need a peaceful future. However, current trends suggest that a rocky road is ahead for Afghanistan. Recent ingress of Taliban in northern Afghanistan forced Dostum to change his suit for chapan. When United States started to wind down its operations in Afghanistan, Dostum started looking for other sponsors. He is master of these maneuvers. In October 2014, he quietly visited Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan but made no significant headway. In early October 2015, he visited Moscow and Chechnya. A bit strange itinerary for Dostum but there is reasons for the trip. Head of Chechen republic, Ramzan Kadyrov has established himself as an intermediary between Moscow and Muslim world. In addition, he is positioning himself to be a partner in fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL); new international villain of the Game of Thrones. Dostum is also presenting himself as a reliable partner against emerging threat of ISIL franchise in Afghanistan. In view of deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and uncertain future, Russia is hedging its bets and planning for a northern buffer zone under a strong man like Dostum to keep fires of extremism away from its borders. The likely instrument will be strengthening of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and nudging them to contribute resources and supplying some heavy weapons to Afghan national army especially strengthening helicopter forces. Russia is also reinforcing its 201st Motorized Rifle Division based in Tajikistan and strengthening a border task force. One sincerely hopes that Dostum lives to see the new generation of Afghans as peace makers and not dying as a warlord on the killing fields of Afghanistan.
Amazon.com has many reviews, nearly all with five stars:http://www.amazon.com/Last-Warlord-Warrior-Special-Taliban/dp/1613748000/ref=sr_1_1/187-4966903-1651562?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1449552837&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Last+Warlord

Not surprsingly no reviews here:http://www.amazon.co.uk/Books-Last-Warlord-Oddball-B-Williams/dp/1613748000/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1449553107&sr=1-1&keywords=the+last+warlord