Saturday, October 23, 2010

Iran Based Jihadi Groups In Afghanistan

The Shiite comprised about 10 to 20 percent of the total Afghan population,[1] are mainly concentarated in central Afghanistan, particularly in Bamiyan province. Ethnically, they are composed of the Qizilbash, the Hazara and some groups of Farsiwans.[2] Of the three kinds of Shiites i.e the Hazara, the Qizilbash and the Farsiwan, the first one, with their major concentration in Hazarajat were the ‘under dogs’[3] of the Afghan society though they were the descendants of Genghis khan.Because of their brave, hardy and industrious out look, racial characteristics, physiogonomy and their antagonism towards the Pushtun dominance, they have occasionally been called as the ‘goorkhas’ of the west.[4] Qizilbash or kabili Qizilbash enjoyed an upper status in Afghan society. They became apolitical due to the fear of being pushed to the wall like the Hazara. The third group of Afghan Shiite living in Nimroz province along Iranian Border was more or less like it’s Iranian counter part across the border. The Shiite had also a visible presence in Heart, Kandahar, Logar and certain Northren provinces of Afghanistan.[5]
The Political Awakening Of Hazarajat And The Role Of Iran In The Pre Soviet Invasion Phase:
The Shiite in Afghanistan were politically backward and were unaware of their status and rights. The Shiites in Afghanistan were politically awaked by the educated Afghan clergy from Najaf and Iraq through Madrassa Movement. As a reaction to 1960’s Political reforms, Shiite launched a struggle for their rights . The Ulema also turned their religious centers into the centers of political training. They established Tekkieh Khanas in a period from 1960-1973 where shia got both religious and political training. One of the prominent Shia religious scholars, Mohammad Ismail Moballegh guided the Hazara towards shia nationalism. He is considered to be the father of modern Hazara nationalism.[6]
On the political front Iran in 1970s was striving to arrest the Soviet influence in Afghanistan. The Tarakai- Amin regimes also implicated Iran in the matter of supporting the insurgents.[7] The Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah also gave some assistance to the rebels fighting the Tarakai regime.[8] Some tribal- type Iranian assistance, especially to Shiite groups such as the Hazaras, began even before the Khomeini revolution in the early spring of 1979. After the Iranian Revolution aid became official policy.[9]
The Saur Revolution And The Role Of Iran In the Politics Of hazarajat:
The shias reacted sharply against the pushtun dominance who viewed saur revolution as the ‘ re birth of pushtun power’ and resisted it Tooth and nail.[10] In 1978 the Hazara fighters and Kabul regime fought a battle in the historic town of Bamiyan and Hazara fighters drove Kabul troops out of Bamiyan,[11] seizing the control of The Hazarajat provinces in local hands. Since 1981 onwards Hazarajat virtually became a state with in a state and established a self rule. The three sections of Hazara society i.e the leftist element, pro Iranian extremists and the traditional upper clergy were in a loose alliance called shura-e-Inqqilabi ittihad-e- islami Afghanistan since 1979, managed the local affairs of the Hazarajat state from 1981-83. Syed Ali Beheshti was the leader of the alliance.[12] The differences in the alliance appeared and the radiacal element with the support of pro-iranian organization Sazman-e-Nasar, in 1982 un succesfuly tried to oust the Ali Behshti. In 1984, the Pro- Iranian Nasar and another extremist pro-Iran Sipah-e- pasdaran entered into an alliance and established control on about two- thirds of Hazarajat.[13]
The ever increasing influence of Iran and its efforts to deal directly in the Hazarajat Shiite affairs led to the worst possible disruption and chaos in the area. The pro –Iran Sazman-e-Nasar, which was earlier receiving arms and funds from Iran, tried to keep itself independent of Iranian control.[14] Resultantly, the pro Khomeini extremist organization Sipah-e-Pasdaran and Nasar developed sharp differences and fought destructive and bloody battles for control of Hazarajat. The Sipahe-e-Pasdaran, however, gained an edge over Nasar in the war for power and control. This bitter scenario, however, led to the creation of many new small groups due to which the Shiite unity graph fell down noticibaly as compared to 1979-80[15] when the Shura was in ful control of Hazarajat.
Pakistan based Sunni afghan resistance groups had achieved unification to a certain extent in 1985, the Iran based Shiite resistance groups were far from unity during this period and were involved in bloody battles for the control of hazarajat. The main reasons for these fights were the absence of enemy to encounter in Hazara and the economic interests of fighting groups for arms and funds. The infighting between the Shiite groups reached appoint in 1985, the Iranian leader Ayatollah Montazari was compelled to arrange a ‘cease-fire’[16] agreement between the warring factions and groups. This agreement had the approval from most of theShiite hazara groups.[17]
Soviet Invasion And Resistance Of Afghan Groups:
The April 27, 1978 Saur Revolution in Afghanistan gave birth to a large number of fighting groups because of the repressive policy of the Tarakai and Amin regimes. Nothing could be said with certainty about the exact number of bands involved in the insurgency. Some random estimates, however, put this number between 150- 200 after a gradual shaping of the guerilla groups that took place from 1978-1983.[18]
These guerrilla fighters neither had any clear agenda nor they had any organization. “Most of the resistance groups were independent bands representing a cluster of villages , a valley, a section of a province, or a tribe”, noted a former American ambassador to Afghanistan while discussing the nature of the afghan resistance inside Afghanistan.[19]
In 1980, according to local estimates, over 50 different political groups claiming themselves as resistance components had established their offices in Peshawar alone.[20]
To cope with the burden of Afghan refugees administration, Islamabad recognised only seven parties of the Afghan Mujahideen to plan the entire resistance of the Afghans. The Peshawar based, seven parties were; the Hizbe-e- Islami Afghanistan of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the Hizb-e- Islami Afghanistan of Maulvi Younas khalis, the jamiat-e- Islami Afghanistan of Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani, the Ittehad-e- Islami Afghanistan of abdul rabb Rassool Sayyaf, the Mahaze-Milie- Afghanistan of Pir Ahmad Gillani, the Jabhe- Nijate- Milli-e-Afghanistan of Professor Sibghatullah Mujaddidi and the Harkate-e-Inqilab-e-Islam-e Afghanistan of Maulvi Muhammad Nabi Muhammadi.
Unlike Sunni resistance groups and parties who were provided with proper military training, arms and sanctuary, the Shiite resistance groups could recive very little attention of the government of Pakistan. Pakistan started helping the Shiite groups shortly after the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, and provided training facilities to the Hazarajat provinces of central Afghanistan. When Islamic Revolution came in Afghanistan , the Iranians had established their links with Hazaras.[21] Both Iran and Saudi Arabia were on the same side in the Afghan conflict but they supported opposing Afghan fractions of the Mujaheddin. Saudi support to Mujaheddin was in line with the U.S and Pakistan strategy of providing the bulk of funds and weapons to the most radical Sunni pushtun groups and ignoring the shia Afghans.[22] This ultimately pushed the Hazaras to the Iranian side.[23]
Due to the estranged relations between Iran and The USA, the Afghan Mujaheddin groups based in Iran recived no international military assistance. Nor did the two million Afghan refugees who fled to Iran recive the same humanitarian aid which their three million counterparts in Pakistan recived. Tehran’s own support to Mujaheddin was limited on account of budgetary constrains because of the Iraq-Iran war. Thus throughout the 1980’s, the USA effectively blocked off Iran from the outside world on Afghanistan. It was a legacy which only further embittered the Iranians against the USA and it would ensure much greater Iranian assertiveness in Afghanistan once the Cold war ended and the Americans had left the Afghan stage.[24]
Iran Based Shiite Resistance Groups:
Before 1978 Saur revolution, there were only eleven small and moderate size Shiite groups and parties in Afghanistan. Apparently they were not armed groups and there sphere of activities revolved around religious teachings and cultural activities. But shortly after the Revolution, their numbers rose to about 73,[25] later on these groups merged into big groups or alliances. Iran’s initial support to Mujaheddin only went to Hazara shias. It was the era in which Iran’s Revolutionary guards funded Shia militants world wide-from Lebanon to Pakistan. [26] Eight Afghan Shia groups were given official status in Tehran But Iran could never arm them sufficiently.[27] The Account of most important groups and alliances is given which played significant role in the Shiite Afghan Resistance movement from 1978 to 1990.[28]
(i) Sazman-e-Nasar
The organization originally came into being as “Groh-i-Mustazifeen”(Group of Oppresed) in 1973.[29] It started struggle in1978 against the Marxist regime. It comprised various anti government groups such as Roohaniyat Mubariz, Hizb-e-Hussaini, Danishjooyan-e-Ilm-e-Islami and Roohniyat Naveen. These groups were operating in Najaf, Iraq and Qom, Meshad, Iran.[30]
In March 1979, they merged into a single body with the name sazman Nasr Afghanistan. This organization had educated leadership and its caders mostly comprised Afghan students of local religious Madrassas. The organization was first led by Mir Hussain sadiequi and later by Abdul Karim Khaliili. The Sazman Nasar was a pro-Khomeini organization with its head quarters in the Iranian territory after the Saur Revolution. The Sazman Nasr had a powerful influence in the southwestren areas of Afghanistan.[31] It had about 1500 fighters and 4000 suppporters and controlled about 25 per cent population in Helmand and Bamiyan areas.[32]Its workers had taken part in many military operations against the Soviet and Afghan troops.[33]
The manifesto of Sazman Nasr called for the establishment of an interm government for the internal and external security of Afghanistan. It also supported a commission comprising the people having elaborated knowledge about islam and Afghanistan. It also highlighted the importance of Sazman Nasr with other liberation movements of the world.[34]
Its propaganda and publicity organs included Piyam-e-Mustazifeen, piyam-e-Khoon, Piyam-e- Nasr and a news bulletin Khabri Sazman-e-Nasr.[35]
(ii) Sazman Neroe Islami Afghanistan
This organization was founded in 1978 in Qom (Iran) by Hijjatul Islam Syed Muhammad zahir Muhaqiq, Hijjatul Islam Syed Mir Hussain Fasihi and Hijjatul Islam Syed Muhammad Hassan Sangcharki. These scholars had migrated from central Asia to Iran. This organization started its activity from Behsud, Wardak province and undertook many commando operations in Heart and adjoining areas.[36]
This organization had both Shia and Sunni commanders from Heart province likr arbab Sadiq, Maulvi ahsani Zarshik and Ghulam Mustafa Haqjoo(Shia) and Haji Hashim, Jumma Khan, Haji abdus salam, Sufi Abdullah and Kaftar Khan(sunni).[37]
At the initial stages of establishment Sazman Neroe lacked unity and it bifurcated shortly after the death of Aqa-i-Fasihi. The top ranking Commander of the Neroe, Syed Hussaini Muallim switched loyalties to Pasdaran-e-Jehad and the other commanders like Ahsani and Haqjoo joined the Nizhat-e-Islami. The son of Syed Asif Mohsini was also expelled from the party and then joined his father’s party. Similarly, Hasan karimi had also established a parallel organization under simply “Nero”.[38]
(iii) Harkat-e-Islami
Sheikh Asif Mohsini, a Kandahari pushtun Shia leader launched Harkat-e-Islami in 1979 in Qom, Iran. He was advised by the Ulema of qom.The Harkat-e- Islami was the amalgam of three small groups struggling individually inside Afghanistan. They were Rohaniyat Mubariz(center of activity, Qom), Sazman Azadi(center of activity, Kabul) and Groh-i- Quran wa Itrat (center of activity, Heart and inside Mehshad, Iran).[39]
It was the most powerful Shiite resistance party inside Afghanistan having its headquarters in Iran. It was the first ever Shia Afghan resistance party which launched full-scale struggle against the Soviet and Afghan forces. The area of military activity and political influence of Harkat was some portions of Hazarajat, south of Mazar-i-Sharif, west of Kabul, Paghaman, Dahan-e-shia-sang, Jaghori, Beshack, Faryab, Jozjan, Balkh and Badakhshan.[40]
Sheikh Asif Mohsini enjoyed good relationship with the Ayatollahs of Iran as he wasthe pupil of Ayatollah Khui of Iraq, But not with the Pasdaran of imam Khomeini.[41] Led by Ismail Javed in the late 1990, this organization had support of about 2000 fighters and another 15000 followers.[42]
(iv) Nizhat-e-Islami Afghanistan
It was an ideological body established by Ali Rahimi, Yusuf Zaki, Syed Safdar Ahsani, Mohammad ishaq Ishaqi and Abdullah Fakhar. From 1981-1984, this organization performed well on the military fronts in Heart and adjoining small cities and towns. But controversies and personality clashes badly affected the unity ofthis body. Shortly after its creation in 1982, some of its leaders like Rahimi and Anwari, along with their supporters, parted ways with Nizhat. Later, in 1985, the leader of a break-away faction, Rahimi went to Tehran and then Pakistan. This ld to bridging of differences and old activists rejoined the party.[43]
(v) Sazman Neroe Inqilab Islami
This was a spkinter of Sazman Naroe Islami Afghanistan. It came into being in 1980. This group recived arms and ammunition in large quantity from Jalaluddin Farsi of Iran. Arbab Saddiq was made its commander. But later on this group melted away because of vested interests of its leaders. Its commander, arbab Siddiq has also joined Hizb Allah. Sannan was the name of its publication.[44]
(vi) Hizb Allah
Qari Ahmad Ghor Darwazi had esdtablished this organizationin 1980.[45] It was a purely military organization with its centers of activity in Heart, Chaghcharan, Badghis, Kabul and other provinces of Afghanistan. Later on it was bifurcatd and its fighters joined other Shiite resistance groups. In 1992, after bloody fighting near Kabul between Hizbe wahdat-e-islami and Ittihad-e-Islami of Professor Abdur Rab Rassol Sayyaf, this organization merged into Hizbe wahdat. In 1990, Zamani led it.[46]
(vii) Pasdaran Jehad-e-Islami Afghanistan
It came into being by the name of Sipah in 1980. The first meeting to form this organization was convened in 1982. This meeting washeldin Behsud, Wardak province and the organization was named as Pasdaran Jehad-e-Islami Afghanistan.[47]
It was a pro-Iran organization and inspired by the Islamic Revolution of Iran. Its manifesto called for the unity of Shias throughout the world to counter the imperialist powers. It supported the solution of the Afghan problem with the help of allother nationalities of Afghanistan. This grouphad its influence in the northwestern areas of Hazarajat. Pasdar was its mouthpiece. Before becoming a component of Hizb-e-Wahdat, it was led by Mohammad Ali Ehsani.
Soviet withdrawl and After Math:
When Soviet leaders decided to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, they forced the reshuffled PDPA leadership to propose national reconciliation.[48] Debates over the political future of Afghanistan moved the Iranian government to organize the Shia groups they supported so that they, too, would be able to engage in political negotiations. On June 18, 1987, eight groups based in Iran- Nasar, Sipah, and six small Shia groups- announced the formation of an alliance. The Shura of Hazarajat joined later, but Harkat_i_Islami still distrusted by the Iranians, never did.[49]
Even though the Hazaras were a small minority and could not possibly hope to rule Afghanistan, Iran demanded first a 50-per-cent and then a 25-per-cent share for the Hazaras in any future Mujaheddin government.[50]The exit of Soviet troops and the end of Iran- Iraq war freed the Iranian government to pay more attention to Afghanistan. Although Tehran had opposed the presence of Soviet troops on it’s muslim neighbor’s soil, it became increasingly concerned about the rise of Pakistani and particularly Saudi influence in Afghanistan through the Sunni Islamists. In the summer of 1989 president Rafsanjani told the Shia groups that the jihad was over and that they should seek a political settlement with Kabul. Tehran similarly signaled its support for a political settlement to the Soviet government and the United nations.[51]
In 1990 Iran induced the Shi’a parties it had organized in an alliance to unit into a single party, the Hizb-i-Wahdat(Unity party). Unlike Pakistan, which still gave aid separately to seven parties and their commamders, Iran now funneled aid to this single center. It also gave some humanitarian and economic aid to Najibullah, whom it preferred to the Saudi-supported IIGA. Iran also took advantage of dissatisfaction with the Saudi-ISI-CIA-Hikmatyar axis to initiate a reapprochemnt with both its fellow Persian-speakers in Jamiat and the moderate nationalist Mujahidin groups. By 1991 Iran had signed a treaty on cultural cooperation with Tajikistan, Hizb-I wahdat, and Jamiat. Mujaddidi, Gilani, and Rabbani all traveled to Iran and opened offices there.[52]
Iran rearmed wahadat and by the time Kabul fell to the Mujaheddin in 1992, Wahadat controlled not only the Hazarajat but a significant part of Westren Kabul. As the Afghan war intnsifid between 1992 and 1995, so did the rivalry between Iran nd Saudi Arabia. The Saudis and Pakistais made frequent attempts to bring all the factions together. However, they also made every effort to keep Iran and the Hazaras out of any potential agreements. In the 1992 Peshawar Accord, and in 1993 Islamabad and Jalalabad Accords, Iran and Hazaras were sidelined.[53]
Tehran realized that unless it backed the non-Pashtuns, Pashtun sunnis would dominate Afghanistan. In 1993, for the first time, Iran began to give substantial military aid to the president Burhanuddin Rabbani in Kabul and the Uzbek warlord General Rashid Dostum and urged all the ethnic groups to join with Rabbani.[54]
After the disintegration of USSR ,Iran saw the prospects to end its international isolation by friendly ties with Central Asian states. United States tried to block the Iranian influence in the region. Iran resisted this temptation and also forged close ties with Russia. Between 1989 and 1993, Russia provided Iran with US $10 billion worth of weapons to rebuild its military arsenal. Iran and alliance. An alliance between Iran, Russia and the CARs in support of the non-Pashtun ethnic groups existed well before the Taliban emerged.[55]
The collapse of the Afghanistan state increased Iran’s own insecurity by creating a massive influx of drugs and weapons.[56] Saudi Arabia’s initial support for the Taliban convinced Iran that The USA was also backing them in an intensification of its 1980s policies to surround Iran with hostile forces and isolste it.[57] Of even greater concern to the Iranians was that, since 1996, the Taliban were also secretly backing Iranian groups who were anti-regime. In kandahar, the Taliban had given sanctuary to Ahl-e Sunnah Wal Jamaat, which recruited Iranian Sunni militants from Khorasan and Sistan provinces to overthrow the Shia regime in Tehran and impose a Taliban-style Sunni regime.[58]
Iran military aid to the anti-Taliban alliance escalated after the fall of Kabul in 1996 and again after the the fall of Mazar in 1998. However, Iran had no contiguous border with the alliance and was forced to either fly in or rail supplies to Masud’s forces, which involved getting permission from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. In 1998, Iranian Intelligence flew in plane-loads of arms to Ahmad Shah Masud’s base in Kuliab in Tajikistan and Masud became a frequent visitor to Tehran.[59]
The Taliban were incensed with Iran’s support for the alliance. In June 1997, the Taliban closed down the Iranian Embassy in Kabul, accusing Iran of destroying peace and stability in Afghanistan. However, it was the killing of the Iranian diplomats in Mazar in 1998 that nearly forced Iran into war with the Taliban.[60]
United Sates changed its perception about Taliban in 1998 and realized that Iran was a key player in the region.[61]
Soviet invasion was the era in which Iran revolutionary guards funded Shia militants World Wide. By 1982, Iranian money and influence had encouraged a younger generation of Iran- trained radical Hazaras, to over throw the traditional leaders. Iran recognized eight Afghan Shia groups but in fact could never arm and fund them sufficiently. Iran backed Hazars became marginal conflict inside and fought more amongst themselves than against the Soviets. Hazara factionalism was exacerbated by Iran’s short-sighted, Ideological policies in which the Hazars loyality to Tehran was viewed as more important than unity amongst themselves.[62] Iran’s security depends on the stability in Iran. The representation of Shia Afghans in the government Had been a Major concern in the past. The hardliners approach to the Afghan crises led to serious threats for the security and economy of Iran. To maintain peace in the region Iran must drain of its resources and look for peac prospects to solve Shi’a Issue in Afghanistan.

[1] Azmat Hayat Khan, The Shias Of Afghanistan, Journal of Central Asia, no 32, Summer 1993. P. 33 Cited here after Azmat Hayat.
[2] Azmat Hayat, Op. Cit; P. 33
[3] Edward Girardet, Afghanistan; The Sovit war, New Delhi; Selectbook Srvice Syndicate, 1986. P. 56 cited here after Edward Girardet.
[4] H.W. Bellew., The Races Of Afghanistan, London; Thacker spink and co, 1980; reprinted ed., Lahore; Sh. Mubarak Ali Book Sellrs and Publishers,n.d. P. 116. Cited here after Bellew, Races.
[5] Muhammad Tauqir Alam, The Betrayal of Afghanistan; An Analysis Of The Afghan Resistanc Against Soviet Invasion, Islamabad; Pan Graphics (pvt) Ltd. p. 159. Cited here after Tauqir Alam.
[6] Azmat Hayat, Op. Cit; P. 42
[7] Central intelligence Agency, Biographic report of Mohammad Daoud, president of Afghanistan, secret BR-73-15, august 1973.
[8] Hafizullah Emade; exporting Iran’s Revolution ; The Radicalization of the Shiite Movement in Afghanistan , Middle eastern studies, vol. 31, no. 1, (London: January 1995: pp. 44 – 45.
[9]kurt Lohbeck, Holy War Unholy Victory; Eye Witness to the CiA’s Secret War In Afghanistan, CBS News, Washington; Regnery Gateway,1993. P. 101.
[10] Oliver Roy, Islam And Resistance in Afghanistan, Cmbridge; Cambridg University Press, 1986. p. 145. Cited here after Roy, Islam and resistance.
[11] Ibid, p. 141
[12] Tauqer Alam p. 161
[13] Roy , islam and resistance, p. 141.
[14] Ibid., p. 144.
[15] L. Mark Urban, War In Afghanistan, London; The Macmillan Press Ltd., 1998. p. 170. Cited here after Urban, War
[16] Ibid, p.170
[17] Tauqer Alam, P. 163
[18] Bruce J. Amstuz, Afghanistan; The First Five Years Of Soviet Occupation,(Washington; 1986) , P. 89. Cited here after Amstuz.
[19] Ibid, P. 89
[20] Kamal Matinuddin, Power Struggle In Hindu Kush; Afghanistan 1978-1991, Lahore; wajidalis Ltd, 1991. P. 129. Cited Here after Matinuddin, Hindu Kush.
[21] Tauqeer Alam p. 161
[22] Ahmed Rashid Taliban p. 197
[23] Tauqeer Alam p. 161
[24] Ahmed Rashid, Taliban- Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism In Central Asia, United States; Yale university Prss, 2002. P.198. Cited here after Ahmed Rashid
[25] Baseer Ahmad Daulatabadi, Shanasnama Azhab Wa jaryanat-i-Siyasi Afghanistan, (Qom: 1992, n.p), p. 12 Cited here after Daulatabadi, Shanasnama.
[26] Ahmed Rashid , p. 198
[27] Ibid., p. 198
[28] Tauqir Alam p. 163
[29] Daulatabadi, Shanasnama, P. 289.
[30] Tauqir Alam p. 163
[31] Tauqir Alam P. 163-4
[32] Matinuddin, Hindukush, P. 77
[33] Tauqeer Alam P. 164
[34] Tauqeer Alam P. 164
[35] Ibid, P. 164
[36] Ibid, P. 164
[37] Ibid, P. 164
[38] Ibid P. 164-5
[39] Tauqir Alam P. 165
[40] Ibid, P. 165
[41] Azmat Hayat, Op. Cit; P. 53.
[42] Matinuddin, Hindukush, P. 77
[43] Tauqir Alam , P. 166
[44] Tauqir Alam P. 166
[45] Daulatabadi, Shanasnama, P. 188.
[46] Matinuddin, Hindukush, P. 78.
[47] Tauqir Alam P. 166-7
[48] Riaz M Khan, Untying the afghan Knot; Negotiating Soviet Withdrawl, Lahore; Progressive Publishers,1993. P. 190-201
[49] Barnett R. Rubin, Fragmentation of Afghanistan- State Formation and Collapse In Th International System, second ed, U.S; Yale University Press,2002. Reprinted ed, Pakistan; Oxford University Press. p. 249. Cited after Rubin.
[50] Ahmed Rashid, P. 199
[51] Washington post ,September 9, 1989, New york Times, November 19, 1989.
[52] Rubin, P. 252
[53] Ahmed Rashid, P. 199
[54] Ibid, p. 200
[55] Ibid, P. 200
[56] Ibid, P. 203
[57] Ibid, P. 203
[58] Ibid, P. 203
[59] Ibid, P. 203
[60] Ibid P. 203-4
[61] Ibid P. 205
[62] Ibid P.198
Written by: Dr. Kashmala Khalid Khan in April 2009.
The author of this publication is a Peshawar based freelance research analyst.
Note: This publication is an intellectual property of Author and can not be reproduced in any form. Any violation will be treated according to copy right laws.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Did Afghanistan Maintain 9/11 Status During Cold War Era?

Afghanistan, often called the crossroads of civilizations, is a landlocked country in Central Asia.[1] It is bordered by Iran in the west, Pakistan in the south and east, Turkmanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, and China in the eastern most part of the country. Afghanistan is a mountainous country, although there are plains in the north and southwest. The highest point in Afghanistan, Nowshak, is 7485 m above sea level. Large parts of the country are dry, and fresh water supplies are limited. Afghanistan has a land climate, with hot summers and cold winters. The country is frequently subject to earthquakes.
Afghanistan has had a turbulent history. Through the ages, Afghanistan has been occupied by many forces. The last period of stability in Afghanistan lay between 1933 and 1973, when the country was under the rule of King Zahir Shah. Violence was limited and the country became the main overland route between Australia and London for travellers. However, in 1973, Zahir's brother-in-law, Sardar Mohammed Daoud launched a bloodless coup. Daoud and his entire family was murdered in 1978 when the communist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan launched a coup and took over the government. Opposition against the new Communist government was immense, and with the government in danger of collapse, the Soviet Union invaded on December 24 , 1979. Faced with mounting international pressure and losses of approximately 15,000 Soviet soldiers as a result of Mujahadeen opposition trained by the United States, Pakistan, and other foreign governments, the Soviets withdrew ten years later in 1989. Fighting subsequently continued among the various Mujahidin factions, giving rise to a state of war lordism that eventually spawned the Taliban. Backed by foreign sponsors, the Taliban developed as a political force and eventually seized power. The Taliban were able to capture 90% of the country, aside from Northern Alliance strongholds primarily in the northeast.[2]
Geo- Strategic Importance Of Afghanistan
Historically Afghanistan has occupied the central position in the cross Asiatic transits in ancient times. It served as an important position in the route to Central Asia and Europe.[3] After the formation of modern state of Afghanistan in 1747, it was caught in the rivalry between Russian and British Empires. Political strategies and counter-strategies that were adopted became part of the great-game. Thus the players of great game gave Afghanistan great importance[4] , which served as the Buffer zone for them in central Asia. External Forces in the traditional neutrality of Afghanistan Anglo-Russian rivalry made Afghanistan the place where they tried to challenge each other.[5]
Afghanistan’s Satus In Traditional Times Till Cold War:
Afghanistan has traditionally been a non-alligned country. Afghanistan’s rulers due to diverse ethnic composition of Afghanistan sought to remain neutral within and found it a useful policy to remain neutral outside.[6] Afghanistan in nineteenth century was circled by hostile powers, who could use when it was needed the support of the internal elements. Afghan rulers effectively contained her neighbours from acts of aggression by remaining neutral in her foreign policy. In case of her relation with British India Pushtun tribes acted as a source of protection against British penetration.[7] Amir Abdul Rehman khan, the founder of modern Afghanistan pursue the policy of isolation in the new international state system, imposed by colonial powers.[8] The status of modern Afghanistan in the international state system can be analyze in three phases.
  1. Phase of isolation (1888 to 1919)
  2. Phase of continuation of neutralism (1919 to 1946)
  3. Phase of active involvemet on international stage which led to friendship treaty with Afghanistan(1946 to the end of cold war)[9]
Phase of Isolation (1888- 1919):
Afghanistan under the rule of Amir Abdul Rehman khan pursued the policy of isolation. The major plank of Afghan foreign policy had been to secure and maintain her national independence. The British- Afghan border was demarcated by Durand line Agreement, signed by British Foreign Minister for India sir henry Mortimer Durand and Afghanistan’s King Abdur Rahman Khan.[10] British India was obligated to pay a sum of 1.8 million rupees and allow transit of military equipment through Indian territory to fulfill the liabilities created by the Durand line agreement. [11] The successors of Amir Addul Rehman khan continued his doctrine of isolation except they opened the country for modern education.[12]
Phase of Continuation of Neutralism (1919- 1946)
During the second World War, when the Allied forces had occupied Iran, the contiguous neighbor of Afghanistan, it was able to maintain its neutral status. Afghanistan’s geo-strategic location assumed greater significance following the British departure from the Indian subcontinent in 1947 that resulted in the partition of the sub-continent into two independent and sovereign states viz. India and Pakistan. These development helped in eliminating the buffer status of Afghanistan. The partition envisaged a re-demarcation of relation between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
After 1947 Afghanistan expected review of the border with Pakistan. When British government gave choice to the people of N.W.F.P through referendum to join either India or Pakistan, Afghanistan wanted to include her name as well in the choices in this referendum. As this was acceptable to the British government, Afghanistan started to support the idea of independent Pushtunistan.[13] This led to confrontation between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
End of the second World War introduced many changes in the international scenario, the most remarkable of which was the emergence of the concept of the involvement of the two super power in almost all places of the globe to counter the political influence of each other.
Phase of active involvement on international stage which led to friendship treaty with Afghanistan(1946 to the end of cold war):
The concept of Super Power gained currency after the Second World War which witnessed the decline of great colonial powers like Britain, Germany, France, Italy etc. The end of the Second World War was instrumental in initiating the process of decolonization. The old concept of colonialism was replaced by the notion of “ sphere of influence”.[14] The post-war period marked the end of colonialism, on the one hand, and, on the other, there emerged the Cold War which divided the world into two spheres of influence- one led by the USA and other by USSR. Cold war is defined as” a state of tension between countries in which each side adopts policies designed to strengthen itself and waken the other side, but falling short of actual hot war.” [15]
In the classic sense of the term, the contending powers sought to gain absolute control over other regions for all practical purposes without any forma claim of sovereignty. The major driving forces behind the concept were commercial, industrial or strategic interests. However, with the advancement of colonization when bulk of the geographic areas of the world were already divided, the concept of “sphere of influence” got a broader connotation. With the passage of time, new doctrines of the “national state” and “self-determination” gained currency which generally disapproved the du jure types of foreign domination.
In the years after, when the cold war gained momentum, the super powers competed each other to bring Third World countries into their sphere of influence. The common strategy devised to achieve it was economic and military aid. Since most of the newly freed post-colonial states were deficient in these areas most joined one or the other bloc for military and economic security.
During 1954-55, when the Cold War was at its peak, Pakistan joined the Baghdad Pact which was later renamed as the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO). Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan had been straned on the issue of Pushtunistan. Islamabad started receiving massive arms aid from the United States. Pakistan’s joining the military alliances virtually brought the Cold War at Afghanistan’s door-steps. But the Afghans were neither provoked nor promoted to join any such military alliance or pact.
The case of Afghanistan was neither different or any exception. Its geo-strategic location makes it share a common border with the Soviet Union. Prior to WW II Afghanistan was the victim of Anglo-Russian rivalry. British India shared a long border with Afghanistan, so also the Tsarist Russia. The Anglo-Russian rivalry in Afghanistan and the latter’s response to it made Afghanistan pursue a neutral position. The discussion to come is divided in to two portions. First a review of the Afghan-US relation would be presented and then the focus of discussion would shift to the discussion of Afghan-Soviet relations.
Afghan- Soviet Relations in Cold War Period:
After formation of the present state of Afghanistan in 1747 its share boundaries first with Russia and the with Soviet Union after 1917 destined Soviet Union to take interest in the internal affairs of Afghanistan. Before WW II Afghanistan had many bilateral peace treatises with Soviet Union. After the Russian Revolution, as early as 1919, the Soviet government gave Afghanistan aid in the form of a million gold rubles, small arms, ammunition, and a few aircraft to support the resistance during the Third Anglo-Afghan War. In 1924, the USSR again gave military aid to Afghanistan. It received small arms, aircraft and military training in the Soviet Union for Afghan army officers. Soviet-Afghan military cooperation began on a regular basis in 1956, when both countries signed another agreement. After this, all Afghan military officers were trained in the USSR.
In June 1931, Afghanistan signed a treaty of Neutrality and Non-Aggression with Soviet Union. However the Soviet Policy for Afghanistan was to include it through all means in her sphere of influence. One of the main objectives of Soviet Union in Afghanistan has been to continue to keep it out of the Western orbit. Moscow had officially endorsed Afghanistan’s of neutrality and non-participation in military alliances. Soviet Union was highly conscious of the US policy of containment of communism. To that end, Washington had wooed both Tehran and Islamabad. Afghanistan’s support became therefore vital for Soviet Union to neutralize the growing US influence in the region. [16]
In July 1950, Afghanistan and Soviet Union signed a trade agreement under which the latter agreed to supply oil products and cotton cloth, among other commodities, while the former would export wool, cotton etc.[17] It fulfilled the dream of Kabul to have sustained supply of oil. The trade agreement of 1950 began an era of intensification of the relations between Soviet Union and Afghanistan. In 1954 Soviet Union gave credit assistance to Afghanistan for capital goods and technical assistance. (The New York Time, 16 January 1954). Pak-Afghan hostility provided an opportunity to Soviet Union to extends its military assistance to Afghanistan. When the Pak-Afghan border closed in 1955 Soviet Union provided an alternative route to Afghanistan to save her from suffocation. Duty free transit gave a sigh of relief to Afghanistan.[18] In seven years between 1970 and 1977 trade volume between Afghanistan expanded from 73 million USD to 258 million USD. The massive economic assistance made Afghanistan solely dependent on Soviet Union. Besides economic aid Sovied Union had been major arms supplier to Afghanistan along training of personnel and technical assistance.[19]. By end of 1977 total aid of arms had reached around 600 million $.[20]
The Soviet war in Afghanistan (also known as the Soviet-American Afghan War or the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan) was a nine-year conflict involving Soviet Union forces supporting the Marxist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) government against the Mujahideen resistance. The latter group found support from a variety of sources including the United States, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other Muslim nations in the context of the Cold War. This conflict was concurrent to the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the Iran–Iraq War.
Afghanistan and United States of America in Cold War Period:
After the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1934, the U.S. policy of helping developing nations raise their standard of living was an important factor in maintaining and improving U.S. ties with Afghanistan. In 1942, Major Gordon Enders of the United States Army was appointed "the first military attaché to the non-existent U.S. embassy in Kabul. He was the first envoy of any kind to be sent to represent the United States in Kabul." However, the first official United States Ambassador to Afghanistan was Cornelius Van Engert. The first official Afghanistan Ambassador to the United States was Habibullah Khan Tarzi who served from 1948 to 1953.
In the 1950s, the United States declined Afghanistan's request for defense cooperation but extended an economic assistance program focused on the development of Afghanistan's physical infrastructure--roads, dams, and power plants. Later, U.S. aid shifted from infrastructure projects to technical assistance programs to help develop the skills needed to build a modern economy.
Dwight D. Eisenhower visited Kabul in December 1959, becoming the first U.S. President to travel to Afghanistan. From 1950 to 1979, U.S. foreign assistance provided Afghanistan with more than $500 million in loans, grants, and surplus agricultural commodities to develop transportation facilities, increase agricultural production, expand the educational system, stimulate industry, and improve government administration.
The Peace Corps was active in Afghanistan between 1962 and 1979. During the early 1960s former King of Afghanistan, Zahir Shah, visited the United States and met with John F. Kennedy at the White House in Washington, DC.
After the April 1978 coup, relations deteriorated. In February 1979, U.S. Ambassador Adolph "Spike" Dubs was murdered in Kabul after Afghan security forces burst in on his kidnappers. The U.S. then reduced bilateral assistance and terminated a small military training program. All remaining assistance agreements were ended after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
Soviet deployment in 1979 and united States Reaction:
The Afghan government repeatedly requested the introduction of Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the spring and summer of 1979. They requested Soviet troops to provide security and to assist in the fight against the mujahideen rebels. On April 14, 1979, the Afghan government requested that the USSR send 15 to 20 helicopters with their crews to Afghanistan, and on June 16, the Soviet government responded and sent a detachment of tanks, BMPs, and crews to guard the government in Kabul and to secure the Bagram and Shindand airfields. In response to this request, an airborne battalion, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel A. Lomakin, arrived at the Bagram Air Base on July 7. They arrived without their combat gear, disguised as technical specialists. They were the personal bodyguards for President Taraki. The paratroopers were directly subordinate to the senior Soviet military adviser and did not interfere in Afghan politics.
Following the Soviet invasion, the United States supported diplomatic efforts to achieve a Soviet withdrawal. In addition, generous U.S. contributions to the refugee program in Pakistan played a major part in efforts to assist Afghan refugees in need. U.S. efforts also included helping Afghans living inside Afghanistan. This cross-border humanitarian assistance program aimed at increasing Afghan self-sufficiency and helping Afghans resist Soviet attempts to drive civilians out of the rebel-dominated countryside. During the period of Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the U.S. provided about 3 billion US dollars in military and economic assistance to the Afghan Mujahideens.
Soviet Withdrawal and consequences of War:
Over 1 million Afghans were killed. 5 million Afghans fled to Pakistan and Iran, 1/3 of the prewar population of the country. Another 2 million Afghans were displaced within the country. In the 1980s, one out of two refugees in the world was an Afghan. Along with fatalities were 1.2 million Afghans disabled (mujahideen, government soldiers and noncombatants) and 3 million maimed or wounded (primarily noncombatants).
Irrigation systems, crucial to agriculture in Afghanistan's arid climate, were destroyed by aerial bombing and strafing by Soviet or government forces. In the worst year of the war, 1985, well over half of all the farmers who remained in Afghanistan had their fields bombed, and over one quarter had their irrigation systems destroyed and their livestock shot by Soviet or government troops, according to a survey conducted by Swedish relief experts.[21]
The population of Afghanistan's second largest city, Kandahar, was reduced from 200,000 before the war to no more than 25,000 inhabitants, following a months-long campaign of carpet bombing and bulldozing by the Soviets and Afghan communist soldiers in 1987. Land mines had killed 25,000 Afghans during the war and another 10-15 million land mines, most planted by Soviet and government forces, were left scattered throughout the countryside to kill and maim.
A great deal of damage was done to the civilian children population by land mines. A 2005 report estimated 3-4% of the Afghan population were disabled due to Soviet and government land mines. In the city of Quetta, a survey of refugee women and children taken shortly after the Soviet withdrawal found over 80% of the children refugees unregistered and child mortality at 31%. Of children who survived, 67% were severely malnourished, with malnutrition increasing with age.
Critics of Soviet and Afghan government forces describe their effect on Afghan culture as working in three stages: first, the center of customary Afghan culture, Islam, was pushed aside; second, Soviet patterns of life, especially amongst the young, were imported; third, shared Afghan cultural characteristics were destroyed by the emphasis on so-called nationalities, with the outcome that the country was split into different ethnic groups, with no language, religion, or culture in common.
The Geneva accords of 1988, which ultimately led to the withdrawal of the Soviet forces in early 1989, left the Afghan government in ruins. The accords had failed to address adequately the issue of the post-occupation period and the future governance of Afghanistan. The assumption among most Western diplomats was that the Soviet-backed government in Kabul would soon collapse; however, this was not to happen for another three years. During this time the Interim Islamic Government of Afghanistan (IIGA) was established in exile. The exclusion of key groups such as refugees and Shias, combined with major disagreements between the different Mujaheddin factions, meant that the IIGA never succeeded in acting as a functional government.
Before the war, Afghanistan was already one of the world's poorest nations. The prolonged conflict left Afghanistan ranked 170 out of 174 in the UNDP's Human Development Index, making Afghanistan one of the least developed countries in the world. The CIA World Fact Book reported that as of 2004, Afghanistan still owed $8 billion in bilateral debt, mostly to Russia.[22]
Once the Soviets withdrew, US interest in Afghanistan ceased. The US decided not to help with reconstruction of the country and instead they handed over the interests of the country to US allies, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Pakistan quickly took advantage of this opportunity and forged relations with warlords and later the Taliban, to secure trade interests and routes.
End of cold War: Afghanistan;War Hitten Country, Prey of Civil War And the Role of Regional Players:
After Soviet withdrawl in 1989, however, the shifting global strategic situation altered the place of Afghanistan in the international system. The new goal of U.S policy included not only “self- determination” for Afghanistan, but also a negotiated political settlement that would lead to the “sidelining of extremists” Including Najibullah, Hikmatyar, and Sayyaf. The United States engaged in two track diplomacy, beginning a diplomatic dialogue with the USSR on a U.N- sponsored political settlement while trying to improve the military performance of the Mujahidin. [23] The battle of Jalalabad, launched by the Mujahideen forces 1n 1989 however, turned out to be a military disaster, Mujahideen under estimated the Moscow-backed regime of President Muhammad Najibullah.[24]
The disintegration of USSR in 1991, proved fatal for najebullah government his government was collapsed by his interior minister,[25] Abdul Rashid Dostum in 1992. a broad based interim government was set up headed by Sibghatullah Mojadedi.. the Mujadadi government assumed control of Kabul and proclaimed the establishment of the Islamic state of Afghanistan.[26]
Civil war broke out in 1992, when the power sharing arrangement under Peshawar accord was broken down after Gulbudiin Hekmeatyar launced rocket attacks on Kabul and country divided mainly along ethniclines-pushtuns in south, Uzbeks and Tajiks in the north, and the Shi’a Hazaras in the centre-battled each other.[27] Professor Burhanudin Rabani’s election as a President in 1992 and re-election in 1994, failed to work out any power sharing formula further soared the chaos in Afghanistan.[28]
As the Afghan war intensified between 1992 and 1995, So did the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia[29] to promote Northern Alliance and the radical Sunni Pashtun groups respectively.[30] With the patronage of U.S, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, made every possible move to keep out Iran from any potential agreement inside Afghanistan. Rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia intensified with the Saudis importing more Arabs to spread Wahabibism and anti-Shiism inside Afghanistan.[31]
Rise and Fall of Taliban(1994- 2001)
Mean while in 1994, ‘Taliban’ product of rural- based madrassas were emerged as a counter political force in Afghanistan. Deobandi in interpretation of Islam, Taliban were rooted in the tribal areas of both Pakistan and Afghanistan.[32] Islamabad seen Taliban as an alternative to troublesome Rabbani regime and supported them to have strategic depth in the region.[33]
In 1996, the Saudi alleged terrorist Osama bin Laden moved to Afghanistan upon the invitation of the Northern Alliance leader Abdul Rabb ur Rasool Sayyaf. When the Taliban came to power, he was able to forge an alliance between the Taliban and his Al-Qaeda organization, leading to rumours in the Western media that he exerted considerable influence on the Taliban leaders. Osama bin Laden reportedly given the Taliban $ 3 million to buy the defections which opened the road to Kabul in September 1996.[34] Osama enjoyed the status of an honored guest of Taliban regime and patronize the anti-American jihad in Afghanistan. In February 1998, Bin Laden issued a manifesto for jihad against Jews and Crusaders. A few months after his fatwa, U.S embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed killing 226 people. On 4 November 1998, the Manhattan Federal Court issued an indictment in absantia against bin Laden, containing 238 charges of terrorism against him. U.S demanded Taliban to hand over Osama bin Laden to him. Taliban accused diplomatic liaisons as ‘American lackeys’ and refused to abandon the possession of Osama. The America made surgical strikes against Al-Qaeda training camps in 1998, coincided with the Taliban’s successful assault on Mazar Sharif, in which they massacred at least 2,000 people, most of the Hazara civilians, including nine Iranian diplomats.[35] Security council, on December 19, 2000, passed Resolution 1333,and imposed arms embargo on the Taliban, banned travel out side Afghanistan by the Taliban officials.[36]
Osama Bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda organization were named, by the US intelligence agencies, to be behind these attacks and President Bush called it “An Act of War”. US started exercising pressure on Taliban Government to hand over Osama Bin Laden. Pakistan was also approached to exercise its influence with Taliban, however it did not materialize and the US decided to attack Afghanistan with a view to apprehend Osama, oust Taliban regime, which was supposed to be harboring terrorists. A multi state coalition was formulated and “The war against Terrorism” began.
The back lash of attacks in New York and Washington on 11th September came on 7th October 2001, once U.S warplanes strafed Afghanistan air space and started bombing Taliban strongholds of Kabul and Kandahar. Taliban also declared a determined struggle against U.S led coalition. In order to take benefit of the situation, the arch rival of Taliban, the Northern alliance, also speeded up their attacks against Taliban positions. However , keeping in view the indiscriminate bombing by the U.S and the killings of hundreds of innocent civilians in Afghanistan, Taliban leadership decided to step down. Northern alliance seized Kabul on 13th November 2001 with Taliban government shattered like a house of cards.[37]
Long-Term Foreign Presence in Afghanistan:
Afghanistan occupies immense strategic importance in the post Cold War era, since it lies at the junction of the three main important, albeit volatile but oil rich regions of the world – Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia. It also shares a small border with China, which is believed to be the emerging economic giant of the 21st century. Given its immense geo strategic significance, external powers have developed a vested interest in this war-ravaged country, especially in the post-9/11.
Initially the primary goal of the US-led West was to flush out Al-Qaeda and to break their terrorist infrastructure in Afghanistan. In pursuit of the “War on Terrorism”, the US also sought help from Russia and the Central Asian countries. The US regional presence included two key air bases that have handled tens of thousands of US flights - Manas air base north of Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, where more than 1,000 troops are stationed, and the Karshi-Khanabad air base in Uzbekistan, with at least 800 US troops. However, the US forces were evicted from the Karshi-Khanabad air base on July 29, 2005, in the backdrop of the Andijon incidents in May 2005 in Uzbekistan, when relations between the US and Uzbekistan got strained following the US criticism of the Uzbek government’s involvement in the Andijon riots, and its insistence on independent international investigation. The US also has overflight rights, "gas and go" refueling agreements and emergency landing agreements with these countries. In addition, the US negotiated an arrangement with Tajikistan, thereby allowing US military aircraft to refuel and fly over Tajik territory on missions relating to Afghanistan. The French air force has a base at Tajikistan's Dushanbe airport that hosts about 200 personnel.
The basic understanding between the US and the regional countries contributing to the US’ “War on Terrorism” was that the leasing of the military bases in Central Asia was temporary, and the US will withdraw its forces upon completion of its anti-terrorism operations in Afghanistan. However, by August 2002, the US started contemplating a longer stay in Afghanistan. Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Secretary, said on August 9, 2002, that the American forces would remain in Afghanistan for "as long as it takes," and had shifted focus from “combat to humanitarian activities.”[38]
This intention was further buttressed by a statement of US Army Gen. Tommy Franks, Commander of the Central Command troops, who said on August 15, 2002, that American troops will be needed in Afghanistan for a “long, long time” to ensure that the war-ravaged country does not revert to a haven for terrorists.[39]
The US intention to have a long-term military presence in the country is very worrisome for Afghanistan’s neighboring countries. The signing of a “Strategic Partnership” between the US and Afghanistan in May 2005, and the stated intention of the Afghan Administration to provide permanent military facilities to the US is a cause of concern for the regional countries. The Agreement calls upon the US to have access to military facilities in Afghanistan. However, the Agreement does not specify whether the Partnership will allow a permanent US presence in the country – something that Afghan President Karzai has left to the Parliament to decide after sensing a lot of domestic pressure it could generate. However, Afghan presidential spokesman, Mr. Javid Ludin, said on May 8, “the people of Afghanistan consider it necessary to have a long-term presence of foreign troops in the country, until Afghan security forces are able to stand on their own feet.” [40]
By analyzing the dynamics of Afghanistan status in cold war and after 9/11: it is obvious that Afghanistan, during Cold War, was on its way to became a soviet satellite, after it signed a “Friendship Treaty” with U.S.S.R. Soviet intervention in 1979, made U.S to equal the sum with Soviet Union. To counter the soviet influence in the region, CIA-Pakistan- Saudi Arabian nexus, fought a proxy war for U.S.A. U.S after fulfilling its incentives, left Afghanistan on the mercy of war lords; Supported Taliban for oil pipeline in CAR’s, and turned regime to free the world from the threat of terrorism after September,11 attacks on World Trade Centre.
U.S, in Cold war, to counter U.S.S.R in region and after 9/11 to secure its boundries. Exercised its power in Afghanistan. In both cases the desired goal of U.S was to protect its interests and nation. The status of Afghanistan in the perspective of U.S policies was the same during Cold War and after 9/11, 2001.
While Afghanistan is successfully moving – albeit slowly – towards establishing institutions in the post-Taliban era, the pace of insurgency in Afghanistan indicate that it will take a long time before peace and stability is restored in the nook and corner of Afghanistan. The graph of violence in Afghanistan indicates an upward increase in violence in the times ahead, coupled with more sophistication in the attacks of the insurgents. What is essentially required is more commitment of troops and finances by the international community towards Afghanistan. The level of troop commitment to Afghanistan is very low compared to Iraq, and needs to be increased considerably to fight the insurgency.
Similarly, there needs to be a greater focus on the reconstruction and development in Afghanistan, which could generate economic activity in the war-ravaged country and can become a harbinger of peace and stability. However, the international community seems to be lagging on this front as well. In terms of reconstruction and development assistance, pledges of aid from the international community between January 2002 to April 2006 amounted to US $14.4 billion, out of which only US $9.1 billion were actually committed a mere US $0.9 billion worth of projects by February 2005, and of that only US $3.9 billion disbursed. Of the total disbursement, were completed in Afghanistan.
There is a need for greater focus on Afghanistan by the international community. Also, there should be increased coordination between the external actors involved in Afghanistan, as well as between them and the neighbouring countries. The Pakistan-Afghanistan-US Tripartite Commission is a good example of such cooperation. The recent inclusion of NATO into this Commission will further increase the effectiveness of this commission in handling the problems being faced by Afghanistan. Such foras could also be utilised for resolving problems that exist between Afghanistan and its neighbours. The present spate of accusations by Afghanistan against Pakistan regarding “cross-border infiltration” will not solve the problem, except further straining their bilateral relations. Such an institutional arrangement, as the Tripartite Commission, could also be organised between Afghanistan and its other neighbours, like Iran, Central Asia and China.

[1] Tanner Stephen, Afghanistan: A Military History From Alexander The Great To The Fall Of Taliban,(New york,2002).p.2,3
[2] Muhammad Javed, Hand Book Of National And International Affairs, 2008,
Department Of National And International Affairs; Pakistan Military Academy
Kakul, P.110. Opt cited here After Muhammad Javed.
[3] Mohammad Amin Wakman. 1985. Afghanistan Non-alignment and the Super Powers. RadiantPublishers.
New Delhi. p. 1 Opt Cited Here after, wakman, Afghanistan.
[4] Afghanistan. Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. Accessed 5/5/2009. Availabel
[5] Wakman, Afghanistan.. P. 5
[6] Ibid. p. 11
[7] Ibid. p.15
[8] Gregorian,Vartan. The Emergence of modern Afghanistan.” Politics Of Reform and Modernization, 1880-1946”
Stanford: Stanford University Press. P. 184,192
[9] Wakman, Afghanistan, P.17
[10] Ahmad Shayeq Qassem, Pak Afghan Relations- The Durand Line Issue, Policy Perspectives, April 2008,
Islamabad, P. 89.
[11] Ibid, P. 90
[12] Gellner, Ernest” Muslim Society”, Cambridge Studies In Social Anthropology, no.32. Cambridge University Press,
1981, P. 74
[13] Wakman , Afghanistan, P.39
[14] Wakman, Afghanistan. P. 41
[15] Ibid. P.40
[16] Wakman, Afghanistan. p.52
[17] Foreign Assistance Activities of the Communist Bloc and their Implications for the United States, 85th Congress, 1st
Session (Washington, 1950), p. 80.
[18] United Nations, Economic Survey of Asia and the Far East 1955 (New York, 1955). p. 55.
[19] Wakman., Afghanistan. P. .56-7
[20] US, Central Intelligence Agency, Communist Aid to Less Developed Countries of the Free World, 1977, FUR-78-
104780 (Washington, November 1978), p. 35.
[21] Afghanistan. Wikipedia Inc. accessed 5/6/2009.
[22] Afghanistan. Wikipedia Inc. accessed 5/6/2009.
[23] Rubin, Barnett R. “The Fragmintation Of Afghanistan- State Formation And Collapse In The International System”.
2nd Edition, Yale University: Yale University Press, 2002, P. 251. Cited Here After Rubin, Fragmentation Of
[24] Riffat Hussain, The Anatomy Of A Conflict Afghanistan And 9/11, 2002, New
Delhi: Paul Press, Okhla, P. 190. opt cited here after Riffat Hussain.
[25] Vyacheslav Belokrenitsky, Russian- Afghan Relations: The Emerging Security
Agenda, 1999, London: Oxford University Press, P. 199.
[26] Riffat Hussain Opt cit P. 190
[27] Ibid, P. 191
[28] Ibid , P. 191-2
[29] Ahmed Rashid, Taliban- Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism In Central Asia, United States; Yale university
Prss, 2002. P.199. Cited here after Ahmed Rashid
[30] Ibid , P. 197
[31] Ibid, P. 199
[32] Riffat Hussain, P. 192
[33] Ibid , P. 192
[34] Ibid, P. 194
[35] Ibid, P. 194-6
[36] Ibid, P. 197
[37] Muhammad Javed, P. 119-120
[38] ‘US troops will stay in Afghanistan 'until we win', Telegraph, August 10, 2002,
[39] ‘Long US Stay in Afghanistan Predicted’, CBS News, August 16, 2002,
[40] ‘Afghans Debate Partnership With US’ RFERL Report No. 16, Vol. 4, May 17, 2005,
Written by: Dr. Kashmala Khalid Khan in june 2009.
The author of this publication is a Peshawar based freelance research analyst.
Note: This publication is an intellectual property of Author and can not be reproduced in any form. Any violation will be treated according to copy right laws.