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The recent political and security tensions: concerns and outcomes

Published Date: June 10, 2017

 

The latest bloody incidents in Kabul have paved the way for political tensions in the country, and following the series of political mistrusts, disagreements between Jamiat-e-Islami and the government has increased.

The deadly incident in the green zone in Kabul last week killed more than 90 people and injured around 461 others[1]. This incident and past political differences invoked a demonstration with anti-government slogans. The protest turned violent, and five people including the son of the first deputy speaker of Mishrano Jirga (the Upper House of the Parliament) Mohammad Alam Izidyar was killed, and 11 others were wounded. In the funeral of the son of Mohammad Alam Izidyar, three explosions occurred which in turn killed 18 and injured about 100 people.

The successive bloody incidents escalated differences within the National Unity Government. The acting Afghan Minister of Foreign Affairs and head of Jamiat-e-Islami  Salahuddin Rabban demanded the resignation of the National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar and heads of the security sectors in the country. However, releasing a statement, the Afghan government rejected these demands of Jamiat party and, hence, the political tussle between the government and Jamiat party continues.

Here we have analyzed the recent security incidents, escalation of political tensions and the demands of the protestors from the government.

 

The nature of recent security incidents in Kabul

The country witnessed incidents and attacks during the last month which have complicated the security situations. One of these incidents was the attack on the Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan Hospital in Kabul.

The recent massive explosion in Kabul, which is apparently said to be a Truck bomb, was so huge that has dug a big hole in the ground and besides death tolls has caused millions of dollars of financial losses[2]. The incident was followed by massive reactions and condemnations inside and outside the country, but no one claimed responsibility for it. After the incident, releasing a statement, the Taliban announced that this group condemns any attack and explosions which kill civilians[3].

The Afghan National Directorate of Security, however, announced that the assault was orchestrated by Haqqani Network with the help and instruction of Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) [4]. Also, in response to this attack, President Ghani approved the execution of 11 prisoners which included members of Haqqani Network and the Taliban[5]. Nevertheless, the Taliban responded to this move by the government by warning the adverse consequences of these executions and released dozens of prisoners including members of the police and national army[6].

Overall, such a massive explosion shows the strength of the perpetrators of the attack and the weakness of the Afghan intelligence and security forces. Given the place and timing of the bomb, it seems that the objective of the attack was to create fear and demonstrate the fragile security situation in Afghanistan to the people. After the assault, many questions are raised in the minds of the citizens about how this truck reached the heart of Kabul?

Although President Ghani ordered the security organs to assess the incident and share the outcomes with the nation, some people launched protests in Kabul two days after the attack which turned violent by some people for political objectives. The protestors demanded the resignation of the President and Chief Executive and tried to enter the Presidential Palace. When the protesters were trying to pass in the Presidential Palace, police opened fire and killed five and injured 10 of them[7]. Three consecutive blasts, a day later, during the death ceremony of one of the protestors also left 18 dead and more than 100 injured[8]. No one claimed the responsibility of these attacks either, and after that, a number of demonstrators gathered under tents in Kabul and demanded the implementation of their demands.

 

The expansion of political crisis

Coincide with the intensification of the security situation in Kabul, government’s internal disputes and political opposition of Jamiat party with the Presidential palace augmented. The President sacked a member of Jamiat’s leadership council and the former representative of the President for reforms and good governance Ahmad Zia Massoud and just after that, he was warning of political instability, civil war, and was chanting slogans of changing the regime. He also participated in the last week’s demonstrations and was shouting the slogans of the resignation of the President and Chief Executive. Therefore, some of the protestors accuse him and Head of National Congress Abdul Latif Pedram of taking political advantage from the demonstration and turning it to violence[9].

After the explosions in the funeral of the son of Mohammad Alam Izidyar, where most of the senior members of Jamiat-e-Islami were gathered, disputes between the government and this party has reached new heights. During a press conference, the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Head of Jamiat party said that these explosions were a conspiracy to eliminate the leadership members of his party and, therefore, he demanded the government to fire heads of security organs as well as National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar[10].

In response to these demands of Jamiat-e-Islami, the Afghan government said, “The National Security Advisor does not have executive powers in security sectors, and he carries on his duty with sincerity to his homeland.” [11] It seems that tensions between the Presidential Palace and Jamiat party are increasing over the issue of firing Hanif Atmar. On the one hand, based on the decision of the leadership council of his respective party, the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs did not participate in the “Kabul Process” conference and, on the other hand, the Executive Chief of Jamiat party, as well as governor of Balkh province Atta Mohammad Noor has warned not paying attention to the demands of Jamiat party, will have enormous consequences for the government. Noor has said, “We remember that in foreign trips headed by Mr. Atmar, agreements are signed which are then executed; signature of the security agreement and an agreement with Hekmatyar’s brother show that he has executive powers.” [12]

 

The future scenario and the demands of the protestors

At the top of the demands of Jamiat-e-Islami and the protestors in Kabul is the dismissal of Hanif Atmar and heads of the security organs. As the presidential palace announced, it seems that some reforms will occur in the security forces, but it appears that Hanif Atmar will not be sacked. Therefore, it appears that the protestors’ emphasize on sacking Hanif Atmar will probably cause more violence. In the meanwhile, given various reasons including the presence of the foreign forces in the country, civil war or any serious security instability seems unlikely to occur.

However, in the recent political conflicts and in Kabul’s protests, the resignation of the President and Chief Executive and even dissolving the current government and the formation of an interim government was very much emphasized on. It means that the leaders of the NUG must resign so that the interim government can be established and the elections can be held.

In this regard, a few points are noteworthy:

First, if we assume that the President resigned, according to the Afghan constitution, until the elections are held, and the new President is elected, his powers go to the First Vice President. If President Ghani resigns and General Dustem takes his place, will the situation become better and will all the Afghan Nation accept this decision?

Second, the establishment of the interim government; those who have protested and demanded the dissolve of the government are of one or two parties. Therefore, how will they establish an interim government? Who will be the head of this government? Will the Afghan nation accept it?

Third, if we assume that the interim government was established and all the people accepted it, how long will this government continue? Given the current security and economic situation will it be able to hold the elections? Despite many efforts, the current government has failed to hold the Parliamentary elections in the country during the past two years, how is it possible for the interim government to hold elections then?

Fourth, Currently, the security situation is deteriorating in the provinces and even in the capital, and dozens of security forces and civilians die in the attacks and blasts on a daily basis. Is there any guarantee that with the formation of the interim government, the situation in the country will improve?

 

[1] BBC Persian, «در انفجار مرگبار کابل ۹۰ نفر کشته شدند» [90 people were dead in the bloody explosion in Kabul], 11 Jawza 1396:

http://www.bbc.com/persian/afghanistan-40103092

[2] Radio Azadi, «خسارات مالی حملۀ خونین روز چهارشنبه در منطقه وزیر اکبرخان شهر کابل» [The financial losses of the bloody attack in Wazir Akbar Khan region of Kabul city], 11 Jawza 1396:

https://da.azadiradio.com/a/28522848.html

[3] BBC Persian, «واکنش‌های داخلی و خارجی به حمله خونین کابل» [domestic and international reactions against the deadly attack in Kabul], 10 Jawza 1396:

http://www.bbc.com/persian/afghanistan-40105625

[4] Radio Azadi, «ریاست امنیت ملی: در عقب حمله موتربم کابل شبکه حقانی و آی اس آی قرار دارند» [National Directorate of Security: Haqani Network and ISI are behind the Truck explosion in Kabul], 10 Jawza 1396:

https://da.azadiradio.com/a/28519900.html

[5] Ava press, «گزارش امضای حکم اعدام ۱۱ عضو برجسته شبکه حقانی» [The report of signing the execution of 11 senior members of Haqani network], 11 Jawza 1396:

http://avapress.com/vdcgyw9qwak9ty4.rpra.html

[6] For more information read the report of Daily Weesa, 17 Jawza 1396:

http://www.dailyweesa.com/?p=14486

[7] 8 am, «پنچ کشته و بیش از ده زخمی در تظاهرات کابل» [five dead and ten injured in protests in Kabul], 13 Jawza, 1396:

 http://8am.af/1396/03/13/five-were-killed-and-more-than-ten-injured-in-protests-in-kabul

[8] TOLO news, «سه انفجار در مراسم خاک سپاری یکی از معترضان جان ۱۸ تن را گرفت» [Three blasts in the funeral of one of the protestors left 18 dead], 13 Jawza 1396:

http://www.tolonews.com/fa/afghanistan/%D8%B3%D9%87-%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%81%D8%AC%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%85-%D8%AE%D8%A7%DA%A9-%D8%B3%D9%BE%D8%A7%D8%B1%DB%8C-%DB%8C%DA%A9%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D9%85%D8%B9%D8%AA%D8%B1%D8%B6%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%86-%DB%B1%DB%B8-%D8%AA%D9%86-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%DA%AF%D8%B1%D9%81%D8%AA

[9] Radio Azadi, «روفی و سعیدی: پدرام و مسعود خواستند از تظاهرات منفعت سیاسی ببرند» [Raufi and Saiedi: Pedram and Masaud tried to take political advantage from the protests], 13 Jawza 1396:

 https://da.azadiradio.com/a/28526194.html

[10] Etilaatroz, «حزب جمعیت خواستار برکناری حنیف اتمر و رهبران نهاد‌های امنیتی شد» [Jamiat party demanded the dismissal of Hanif Atmar and heads of security sectors], 15 Jawza 1396:

http://www.etilaatroz.com/48468

[11] Presidential Palace, Press Release, 15 Jawza 1396

 http://president.gov.af/fa/2017/06/05/-9

[12] Jomhor News, «تاوان بی‌تفاوت گذشتن از خواسته‌های حزب جمعیت بسیار بزرگ خواهد بود» [The compensation of bypassing Jamiat’s demands will be huge], 16 Jawza 1396:

 http://www.jomhornews.com/doc/news/fa/95206/

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