Northern Alliance—responsible for continuation of bloodshed, hostilities in Afghanistan

Though the word Northern Alliance emerged with landing of Taliban in Kabul in end of September 1996 last but in fact the non-Pushtoons entered into unity against the United Nations Peace Plan in early 90’s when they held first ever gathering in end of 1991 last. Venue of this first ever gathering with prime purpose of sabotaging UN peace plan and getting occupation of Kabul is still a mystery. Someone are saying that it was held at Baghlan and hosted by Ismaeli leader Mansoor Nadri and someone believe that this event was hosted by Iranian authorities in Mashhad city, bordering with Hirat province of Afghanistan. However, this gathering made grounds for the alliance of non-Pushtoon Afghans which still exists and now pressuring Taliban through one or the other ways for getting “Loin’s share” in Taliban regime in Kabul.

At the moment, nine top leaders of Northern Alliance are in Islamabad, engaged in hobnobbing with Pakistani authorities to influence Taliban leaders for adjustment of its nominees against the key ministerial offices. Top one amongst the Northern Alliance Dr. Abdullah Abdullah is in Kabul and as third partner of Hamid Karzai and Engineer Gulbadin Hekmatyar engaged in healing and dealing with Taliban leaders for the protection of their future political designs. But the main person-self styled school teacher turned warlord Rashid Dostam had left the country and now reached in Turkey, from where he would definitely trying for mobalisation of his Uzbek followers against Taliban leadership.

First was no other then ex-ruling party Peoples Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA’s) Abdul Hameed Mukhtat who had made an undeclared alliance between former President Dr. Najib Ullah and Ahmad Shah Masud. Masud assured help in safe transportation of supplies from former USSR to Kabul via Salang highway in return of handsome payment and other facilities. And later Abdul Mukhtat’s contacts enabled Ahmad Shah Masud to have links with other PDPA leaders like Mansoor Nadari, Gen, Baba Jan, Gen. Momin and Rashid Dostam.

Former President Dr. Najib Ullah when announced his willingness of transferring power to 40-member UN peace council in last half of 1991 last, then these non-Pushtoons have engineered a joint plot against it. And after resignation and shifting of Dr. Najib Ullah to UN compound, the joint armed squads of Ahmad Shah Masud’s Shura Nazar and Rashid Dostam’s Jauzjani Militia entered Kabul and had got occupation of key installations. However, Engineer Gulbadin Hekmatyar’s Hizbe Islami armed men and Southern region PDPA (Watan Party) commander Abdul Jabar made successful attempt of cornering the non-Pushtoons in certain pockets of Kabul. And the fight for perks and power, continued for around one week caused destruction and killing, even didn’t reporters during over ten years presence of USSR army in Kabul.

Later the Northern Alliance was disintegrated when Dostam and Ali Mazari joined hands with Hekmatyar and Mujaddadi in attacking Kabul on January 1st 1993 last. However, after emergence of Taliban in October 1994, not only Northern Allies but former Jehadi leaders have announced unity amongst their ranks. But Hekmatyar along with Mujaddi forced to leave Afghanistan and the northern alliance succeeded in pushing back Taliban till 9/11. The death of Ahmad Shah Masud was in real terms a severe setback for the Northern Alliance two days before of 9/11 tragedy. But within days, the Northern Alliance under the leadership of Prof. Burhan Ud Din Rabbani succeeded in establishing of its existence and was inducted as major component of Bonn Germany conference which was concluded in mid of December 2001 with Hamid Karzai as President of an interim set up in Kabul after collapse of Taliban regime. During Hamid Karzai and Dr. Ashraf Ghani regimes, the leaders of Northern Alliance components remain occupants of important and attractive ministerial and other attractive government offices and diplomatic assignments.

In the wake of situation erupted with first opening of Taliban Political Office in Doha, Qatar and later US peace mission headed by Khalilzad in October 2018 last, the Northern Alliance leaders have apparently opposed any sort of patch up. But internally they continued contacts with the US and Pakistani organs, playing key role in over four decades conflict in Afghanistan. Averting mid 90 like situation, the hidden hands this time succeeded very well not only in disintegration of the Northern Alliance but also key Pushtoon stakeholders of Hamid Karzai introduced political process in Kabul. Before fall of Kabul to Taliban, Dostam along with aides fled to Turkey via Uzbekistan and later by nine other top non Pushtoons welcomed in Kabul. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah left in Kabul to ensure “adjustment” in Taliban set up.

No doubt to mention that Dr. Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah remained each other’s erstwhile rivals but some others Northern Alliance leaders remain part of his government. During press conference at Islamabad, Shia leader Ustad Karim Khalil has held President Ghani responsible for fall of Afghanistan to Taliban. Likewise, commander Ismael Khan of Hirat, who was forced to surrender by Taliban is also critical to both Ghani and Karzai. But these Northern Alliance leaders forget their own intrigues against the successive progressive, democratic and liberal minded regime of Dr. Najib Ullah, Hamid Karzai and Dr Ashraf Ghani which had not only enabled Taliban of restoring its rule but also the effective spy masters of maintaining war stricken Afghanistan’s identity as “safe haven for terrorists” from all over the world.

Shamim Shahid

Shahmim Shahid is Peshawar-based senior political and security analyst. He can be reached at shamimpeshawar@gmail.com

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