Nazar Mohammad Mutmaeen
Afghan writer and political Analyst based in Kabul
First of all the Pakistani media and then the Afghan media reported the detention of Mullah Mohammad Rasool, the former Governor of Nimrooz. Pakistani media reported that Mullah Muhammad Rasul became arrested by Pakistani security forces while he was trying to enter Pakistan through the Afghan border. This report is yet to be confirmed either by sources near to Mullah Muhammad Rasul or by the Taliban group. Some sources even say that he is not arrested by Pakistan.
Some reports were indicating that Mullah Muhammad Rasul was seen in Karachi and had been living there; as he was not seen in the media since several months, hence, perhaps, he would have visited Iran and Pakistan in past times.
It is said that Mullah Muhammad Rasul Akhund had intention to keep contact with Iran and make closer ties with it. Need to mention that Pakistan had/has arrested those leaders of the Taliban that had/have attended Iran.
Peace and Quadrilateral Meetings
Pakistan, in the previous quadrilateral meetings, had promised that it would bring the Taliban leaders to the next meeting. Afghan senior officials in their private meetings and government-pro individuals on TV were telling that Mullah Muhammad Rasul Akhund, himself, or his representatives would participate in the next meeting. It is said that Pakistan had invited Mullah Mohammad Rasool, and perhaps Mullah Muhammad Rasul Akhund would have accepted it. Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor, the supreme leader of the Taliban published a statement that they are not going to participate in the quadrilateral meeting. Afghanistan was insisting on Pakistan to make the present leadership of the Taliban and their powerful representatives to participate in the meeting. Pakistan searched and used the entire means of pressure; however, it could not do it. Therefore, Pakistan, then, would have arrested Mullah Muhammad Rasul Akhund or it would misleaded the media. Hence, Mullah Muhammad Rasul Akhund announced that he is not going to participate in the quadrilateral meeting, and if there are the representatives of Mr. Mansoor participated in this meeting, they would not participate in it with any mean, ever. Although, as it is seen and as the Afghan and Pakistani governments were confident that Mullah Muhammad Rasul would participate in the meeting, and the arrival of Mullah Muhammad Rasul Akhund in Pakistan indicates the same thing.
Sources close to Mullah Muhammad Rasul Akhund said that he has conditioned his participation in the meeting to the participation of Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor, meaning that he would participate, if they were participated.
It was also said in the previous quadrilateral meeting that those Taliban leaders who do not participate in the meeting are going to be eliminated and arrested. Now, Pakistan, once again, wants to receive privilege and indicate that if it could not bring the Taliban; however, it was able to detain one of the Taliban leaders named Mullah Muhammad Rasul Akhund. It is also said that Pakistan had arrested a number of Taliban leaders in last March.
The political deputy Minister of Afghan foreign ministry, Hekmat Karzai, had also said that Pakistan is yet to fulfill its promises. The High Peace Council (HPC), Meshrano Jirga (Upper House of the Parliament) and Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of the Parliament) have expressed doubt over the peace-related activities of Pakistan. Meanwhile, the acting head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) said that Pakistan encourages armed men to enter Afghanistan and fight there.
An attack launched on Christians in Lahore City of Pakistan on March 27, and the Pakistani Taliban splitter group of Jamiat Ul Ahrar claimed responsibility for it. The involvement of regional intelligence cannot be denied in this event. Moreover, fulfillment of the promises Pakistan made would be procrastinated, because it would say that it has faced a huge challenge inside the country. It is worth mentioning that whenever struggles on peace are made; such big incidents cause these efforts to become delayed.
Pakistan’s Pressure and Peace
Detention of any Afghan, whether he is Mullah Muhammad Rasul Akhund or former governor of Herat, Said Fazlullah Wahidi, by Pakistan is an incorrect job.
If peace was provided or the Taliban were harmed or weakened through detention, pressure and power, the prisons of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay became filled with them and this series is going on; also, when a member of family became imprisoner, the remaining members of the family try to get revenge; hence, the graph of opposition going upward instead of coming downward.
The issue would become bigger; the Afghan government would ask Pakistan to surrender Mullah Muhammad Rasul Akhund to them; and if he was detained by Pakistan, it, in prison, would try to make him to accept its conditions.
If Mullah Muhammad Rasul Akhund was apprehended the Afghan government, then, the big game of Afghan and Pakistani government on splitting the Taliban would end; but if Pakistan does not apprehend him to the Afghan government and tries to make him accept their entire conditions and, then, release him; it is more dangerous, it is a suicide.
If detention and pressure were fruitful, the detention of Taliban’s powerful leaders, Mullah Obaidullah Akhund and Mullah Bradar Akhund, should have weakened the Taliban, it should have made them to accept the demands of Pakistani government, and the detention of them should have decreased the problems; the avidity of Pakistan would have decreased with detention of Ustad Yasir and detention of thousands of Taliban’s leaders and imprisonment of them in Pakistani jails should have weakened the war of the Taliban; however, contrarily, the war of the Taliban intensified and their war increased with each day passing.
Struggles on dividing Taliban under the banner of Peace
Politicians and the Afghan government officials, regarding Mullah Mohammad Rasul Akhund, in private meetings says that these struggles are made by the Afghan government in order to divide and weaken the Taliban. Even, it is said that Mullah Muhammad Rasul Akhund is being provided with full support in order to struggle against the powerful Taliban group of Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor, to become more powerful and, then, to carry on the peace talks with the Afghan government.
Some Afghan politicians also say that Mullah Muhammad Rasul Akhund has secret relations with the Afghan government which tries to become closer to him through using tribal influence, and keep contact with him through government-pro Nowrozo leaders.
There are some reports that indicate the appointment of Jabar Khan in Helmand is related to this issue. The government tries to encourage Nowrozi leaders to make the ties between Mullah Muhammad Rasul Akhund and the government closer. Member of Parliament and Army Operation General Jabar Khan was hoping that the leaders of Nowrozi tribe in Helmand and Farah would listen to him and they would cooperate with him, and so he would split the Taliban; however, he was not able to do it.
Need to mention that majority of the Nowrozi tribe in the south of Afghanistan are companions of the Taliban; and if the Afghan government had pursued this plan, definitely, the Taliban would become harmed.
Some politicians say that struggles on dividing the Taliban would create further problems in Afghanistan; when the commanders of different parties of Mujahedeen became encourage to act independently, the ground for civil war became paved. Now, the struggles for dividing the Taliban that America and the Afghan government invest on it would be another problem in the future. Now, the Afghan government has lost the control over Afghan Local Police (ALP) or Arbaki; it is not as big threat for the Taliban in the future as it has already defamed the government in and out of home, and has increased distance between the nation and the government.
Really, how much are the Taliban divided?
Is Pakistan still committed to its former policy regarding dividing the Taliban? Some politicians say that closeness between Iran and America, and tension between Saudi Arabia and America would have made Saudi to request Pakistan to prevent dividing the Taliban.
Now, Iran wants to bring itself closer to the Taliban; Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are afraid of closeness between Iran and Taliban and, hence, they try to not put that much pressure on the Taliban which could make them to bring their ties much closer with Iran.
I will write an exclusive article on Iran-Taliban ties and their positive and negative impacts on Afghan people, region and the Middle East; however, providing that much information would be enough for now.
After the death news of Mullah Mohammad Omar Mujahid and appointment of Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor, as the new supreme leader of the Taliban, some Taliban members obviously opposed the new leadership of the Taliban, they were Mullah Abdurrazaq Akhund, the interior minister during the Taliban regime, Mullah Abdul Jalil Akhund, the deputy foreign minister during the Taliban regime, Mullah Mohammad Hassan Rahmani, the governor of Kandahar during the Taliban regime, Mullah Muhammad Rasul Akhund, the governor of Nimroz during the Taliban regime, Mullah Mansoor Dadullah and others.
Some Taliban leaders were dissatisfied with the leadership of Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor, their opposition was not so obvious and they still remain at their homes, i.e. Said Mohammad Tayyib Agha, the head of Qatar Office, Mawlawi Nek Mohammad and Qari Ziaurrahman Mandani, the members of Qatar Office and Mullah Abdul Qayoum Zakir, the famous military commander of the Taliban. It is also said that the Taliban still make efforts to consider the fruitful ideas of mentioned people and if they could, to make them rejoin their ranks. Time will show that whether these individuals would become satisfied, rejoin or they would remain at home forever.
Moreover, the brother and son of Mullah Mohammad Omar Mujahid, Mullah Abdul Manan Akhund and Mawlawi Mohammad Yaqoub were dissatisfied at first; however, they later accompanied Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor. Besides that, Mullah Mohammad Hasan Rahmani rejoined, Mullah Abdurrazaq and Mullah Jalil ended public opposition. According to the latest reports, Mullah Abdul Qayoum Zakir has ended rifts with Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour and pledged allegiance to him.
Efforts for making another group of the Taliban by the leadership of Mullah Mohammad Omar Mujahid’s son were made; however, he did not do it. Then, they recommended Mullah Mohammad Omar Mujahid’s brother; however, he denied as well as Mullah Mohammad Hasan Rahmani did. Of course, the regional spy agencies were involved in these efforts; contrarily, Mullah Mohammad Omar Mujahid’s son and brother pledged their allegiance to Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor.
Some of the abovementioned individuals are either out of play or still hesitant.
Immediately after that detention of Mullah Muhammad Rasul Akhund, some armed men in Kunduz announced their support to Mullah Muhammad Rasul Akhund and their war against Mullah Mansoor Akhund. A lot of analysts said that they were seem unfamiliar with terminology of the Taliban.
Some armed men in Badghis also announced their support to Mullah Muhammad Rasul Akhund and their war against Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor. It is said that the commander of these armed men was a former commander of Hizb-i Islami and had relations with the Afghan government.
Some domestic media were also broadcasting the reports on fight between the Taliban repeatedly, calling it Jihad of a Taliban group against the other Taliban group, it is what the Religious Council of Afghanistan could not call the fight of the government against Taliban as “Jihad” in past 15 years.
Mullah Nangyali fought against the Taliban on behalf of Mullah Muhammad Rasul Akhund in Shindad District; however, he received heavy hits from the Taliban, and, then, joined the Afghan National Army (ANA). Some unconfirmed reports indicate that Mullah Nangyali is in Kabul now.
Small oppositions should be considered seriously
Some analysts think that the Taliban group of Mullah Muhammad Rasul is perished and the main group of the Taliban would not have any problem in the future; is it right?
The Taliban leaders should not underestimate the split of Mullah Mohammad Rasul Akhund; if the Taliban underestimate these disputes and did not consider them well, these splits would become wider, and it would be hard to be controlled in the future.
The American experience in Iraq that made Sunni Muslims to fight against each other was quite fruitful.
The experience of America and the Afghan government in splitting the great party of Hizb-i Islami is worth considering; no one could think of that the Hizb-i Islami (Arghandiwal) party in Kabul would become greater and more powerful than that of main Hizb-i Islami party of Hekmatyar. However, we witness that Hizb-i Islami (Arghandiwal) has fulfilled the gap of main Hizb-i Islami (Hekmatyar) and the Afghan government does not take Mr. Hekmatyar that much serious now. Even Mr. Arghandiwal does not want the main Hizb-i Islami Party of Hekmatyar to be officially registered with this name in Kabul; moreover, he claims that the main party of Hizb-i Islami is related to them, they print the Shahadat newspaper and Shafaq magazines, also.
America and the Afghan government would make efforts to have Mullah Muhammad Rasul reach such a point and to make Taliban and others under the banner of the Taliban to gather around him, and if Mullah Mohammad Rasul Akhund was kept in Pakistan’s prisons or faced other threats, another group under the banner of Taliban would be made to full his gap, be active in Afghanistan and eventually come to Kabul, then, the main group of the Taliban would be remained outside as well as Hizb-i Islami (Hekmatyar’s). Of course, it is a plan and time will show that whether it would be implemented or not.
It is said that America has to requested Arabic countries, Turkey, Pakistan and Iran to help her halt the income sources of the Taliban, and if assistance was provided, it would be provided to Mullah Muhammad Rasul Akhund or every other splitter group of the Taliban in order for the main group of the Taliban to become weaken and, then, to become ready for peace talks.
After the movements like upraised people, ALP and ISIS that were created for weakening the Taliban were not as fruitful as America and regional intelligence agencies were expecting, therefore, they, now, are waiting to hit the Taliban by Taliban.
However, it is also important that if Pakistan stopped supporting the project of splitting the Taliban and left this projects as its signs are already observed, perhaps, then, the plans of America and regional spy agencies on splitting the Taliban would face failure.
Briefly, it is good for the Taliban to have an address for talks as well as for the government. Also, America is supposed to become ready to negotiate with the Taliban.
If the efforts on splitting the Taliban are made or if the government-pro authorities announce self-run governments or challenges the government as its signs were seen in Balkh and Sar-i Pul; such struggles are considered as continuation of war and obstacles toward peace.
Peace is mandatory for the people. The involved sides do fighting and kill each other; however, the civilians became harm by this war. Awakened, responsible Afghan politicians and especially Afghan youth should put nationwide pressure of the various sides of war to become ready for peace. Meanwhile, the U.S should be asked not to end the Afghan war irresponsibly, it was what it did in Iraq. The present weak Afghan Unity Government is the mechanisms of America, it should take the responsibility and become ready for establishing a government which would be acceptable to entire Afghans. Also, the presence of foreign troops is the main reason behind war in Afghanistan; America should end the Afghan war with responsibility and announces the timetable of the withdrawal of its troops.