Since a while, especially after Hekmatyar’s coming to Kabul and after the bloody explosion in Kabul followed by demonstrations, the country’s political situation is moving toward crisis day by day. Although the NUG was confronted with internal disputes since ever the beginning, these disputes have recently resulted in the formation of the High Council of Coalition for the Salvation of Afghanistan between Junbish-e-Mili, Wahdat-e-Islami, and Jamiat-e-Islami.
Therefore, currently, the government is confronted with increasing waves of political differences and, in this regard, concerns are increasing on a daily basis. Hence, to follow up its previous academic debates, the Center for Strategic and Regional Studies (CSRS) had organized a seminar to discuss the issue. In this seminar, held on 13 July 2017 in the central office of CSRS, writer and politician Mohammad Zaman Mozammel, and writer and journalist Mohammad Zubair Shafiqi had participated and delivered their speeches regarding the various aspects of the issue.
The first speaker in the meeting, Mr. Muzammel talked about the Afghan government’s peace efforts with the Taliban and Hezb-e-Islami’s coming to Kabul. He said that the current situation in the country was a real and dangerous crisis. He pointed out the positive and negative aspects of Hezb-e-Islami’s coming to Kabul and said that it was the second time that Hezb-e-Islami has come to Kabul. He added that Hezb-e-Islami’s presence in Kabul had to be evaluated carefully because, he said, the formation of the new coalition in Turkey showed that Hezb-e-Islami’s coming to Kabul had its impacts and its complicated aspects.
Mr. Muzammel added that the peace deal between the Afghan government and Hezb-e-Islami would probably have several positive consequences for the country and particularly for Hezb-e-Islami. First, since political negotiations were unsuccessful in Afghanistan, Hezb-e-Islami proved that the Mujahedin have political tolerance as well. Second, some senior members of Hezb-e-Islami were already in Kabul, and after Hekmatyar’s coming to Kabul, the party’s political presence was strengthened. Third, this party easily found new followers, and it seems that 40 percent of the people other than the members of the party are supporting the party. Fourth, Hezb-e-Islami was engaged with both the Taliban and the government, and now it has made peace with the government and is ready for mediation in the peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Fifth, making peace with the Afghan government, Hezb-e-Islami proved that peace with the government is possible. Sixth, the nation was disappointed about peace and Hezb-e-Islami broke this disappointment.
He added that the peace agreement between the government and Hezb-e-Islami had negative aspects as well. First, the war-centered logic of Hezb-e-Islami altered and the war that was holy until yesterday now became unholy. Second, Hezb stood beside the government and against the Taliban whether it wants or not. Third, Hezb-e-Islami’s peace will be proved illogical if the war continues and the situation gets deteriorated. Fourth, if the US continued to remain in Afghanistan, this peace deal will be harmed. Fifth, if Hezb-e-Islami engaged in a practical and propaganda war with the Taliban, it will have huge negative consequences.
But since Hezb-e-Islami made peace, and the peace process with the Taliban has been a failure to this moment, one can ask whether who has a problem Hezb-e-Islami or the Taliban? Mr. Muzammel said that, in Islam, peace and negotiations were legitimate and when the other side accepts you as a party that is a dignified peace. He said that if it was certain that the continuation of war would bring further disaster and destruction, the parties of war are obliged to make peace. On the other hand, currently the other party of war is the Afghan government and it is said that peace should not be made with the slave (or puppets); peace with the lord will be even harder; therefore, currently, the Taliban do not have convincing reasons to reject peace with the government. The Taliban are raised with a fighting morale and play politics emotionally.
The second speaker of the meeting Mohammad Zubair Shafiqi talked about the current political crisis and the anti-government coalitions and said that currently, the country is in a crisis that is so complicated that even those who have caused this crisis do not know all of its aspects.
He said that some reports and research in the past two months indicate that the situation is more deteriorated than ever in the past and casualties have increased very much. According to Pentagon’s reports, 49% of the countries’ soil is under the control of the Taliban, which he said to be true. He also stated that the security situation in the country was very fragile and that the balance of recruiting and casualties of the Afghan army force was no longer in place because he said, according to a report, 3000 soldiers are either get killed or escape the ranks of the army and instead 1300 new soldiers are recruited. In addition, various factors have come together and have paved the way for corruption in these ranks.
About the new anti-government coalition, Mr. Shafiqi said that internal disputes had brought the country in the current situation. He said that General Dostum, who is involved in the Ishchi’s case, is one of the parties of this coalition. He said that in the past, in the absence of the President, General Dostum was not introduced as his placeholder and that General has committed large-scale harassment and assault in Faryab, Jawzjan, and Sar-e-Pul and even it is said that he is involved in the emergence of ISIL in the Northern Afghanistan. On the other hand, Mohammad Mohaqiq is in a situation that his previous privileges are decreased.
Shafiqi added that the only difference between the formerly collapsed governments and the current government was that the current government was being supported by the US; otherwise, the situation was even more deteriorated than the situation during those governments, and the government officials are only able to protect themselves.
He said that the recent coalition had scared both the government and the Americans; that is why a senior government official went to Turkey to make peace with General Dostum, and when that scheme failed, the US embassy in Kabul emphasized on the investigation about Ishchi’s case which means that the US is backing the Afghan government.
According to Mr. Shafiqi, it seems that the government will continue until the end of its term, but the country will be destroyed very much. On the other hand, in order to achieve its goals in the region, the US wants the continuation of the war in Afghanistan that is why now the US has decided to increase the number of its troops in the country.
Shafiqi said that despite the entire unfavorable situation, it is needed for Afghans to get prepared for intra-Afghan understanding/talks, end the war, and make efforts to pave the way for the foreigners to pull out of the country because, he said, it was Afghans who paid the price for the current war. He stated that although the US is seeking its objectives, the Afghans overall are in a terrible situation.
The General Director of the Center for Strategic and Regional Studies (CSRS) Dr. Abdul Baqi Amin also made his brief remarks regarding the issue and said that although public awareness was important, every Afghan must understand his/her obligation in ending the ongoing tragedy. He stated that various parties have various opinions regarding the Taliban and they consider their interests during the negotiations with the Taliban and, overall, they do not think about national interests and the interests of the nation.
Mr. Amin said that still there was the lack of an impartial mediator in the peace process and sincere Afghans must undertake measures in this regard and then two circles must be formed from a number of political figures within and outside the country to work to bring the opinions of the parties closer.