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11/12/2015

Afghanistanpoisedtokeepsimmering!:IslamabadPolicyResearchInstitute

Afghanistanpoisedtokeepsimmering!
KHALIDIQBAL

NOVEMBER9,2015

NEWSPAPERARTICLES

ADDREPLY

Afghan Taliban leaders, who had refused to accept Mullah Akhtar Mansoor as successor to
Mullah Omar, have formally announced Mullah Mohammad Rasool as head of their splinter
group. Dissident leaders met in Farah province of Afghanistan and elected new leaders.
Presumably they have been in contact with the Afghan government and the Afghan officials
facilitated their meeting on November 01. Now wellmeaning elements are making efforts to
ensure that both sides should desist from infightinga tall order indeed! Many in the Taliban
movementwereunhappythewaydeathofMullahOmarhadbeenkeptsecretfortwoyears
duringwhichtimeannualEidstatementswereissuedinOmarsname.
ThedissidentchiefhasclaimedthatdifferencessurfacedasMansoorwasnotendingcontacts
with the foreigners. Our colleagues had been advising Mansoor to sever ties with the
Americans, give importance to former Mujahideen and do not give positions to incompetent
people,Rasooltoldhissupporters.Hedidnotacceptourdemandsbutremovedcompetent
persons,killedanddetainedsomepeople,Rasoolclaimed.Hewentontosay,WhenMullah
Omarsdeathwasformallyconfirmed,MullahAkhtarMansoorandhisthree,fourorfivepeople,
satandheldelection.HeisnotourleaderMansurisnotourAmirulMomineen.Hewasnot
electedlawfullyinaccordancewithShariatoleadthegroup,saidRasool.
Themuchtalkedaboutsplitthatnowstandsformalizedhasaddedmorecomplexitiestointra
Afghanpeaceprocess.Itcouldattractmorehardlinefightersandmakeanyfuturepeacetalks
more complicated for the Afghan government. Most analysts warn that it bodes ill for any
potential peace talks. Afghan politicomilitary culture is notorious for opportunism and shifting
loyalties. It will take some time to ascertain about the sponsors of the splinter group and the
motivationbehindit.
EmergenceofthenewgroupisunlikelytothreatenMansoor,whohasconsolidatedhisposition
and has demonstrated this through a series of attacks on hard and soft targets that raised
serious questions about the viability of Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Most
prominent of Taliban activity was stunning threeday occupation of northern Kunduz city. US
NATO troops and ANSF took fifteen days to retake the city completely. First outcome of his
groups high military profile during this years fighting season was extension in the stay of
residualUSNATOtroops,tillatleast2016.
AdvisertoPrimeMinisteronForeignAffairsSartajAzizhassaidthetimeisnotopportunefor
PakistansroleintheAfghanpeacetalks.Reconciliationisinourviewoneofthebestoptions
but the preconditions for a successful outcome are required, and that requires some
consensusamongstakeholders,AzizsaidonNovember02.AfghangovernmentandTaliban
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Afghanistanpoisedtokeepsimmering!:IslamabadPolicyResearchInstitute

have to decide when meaningful discussions can take place. That is the time where our role
comes. Right now I dont think the time is opportune, Aziz added. In the meanwhile
Afghanistan continues criticising Pakistan, Afghan Interior Minister Noorul Haq Uloomi has
accused Pakistan of promoting insecurity in Afghanistan. Plans for subversive activities in
AfghanistanarestillbeingplottedinPakistan,Ulomisaid.
On President Ashraf Ghanis request, Pakistan had facilitated the first ever facetoface talks
between the government in Kabul and Afghan Taliban in July. The next round was about to
begin in Murree however, news about Mullah Omars death led to the cancellation of the
dialogue. Later, President Ghani said he would not seek Islamabads role in peace with the
Taliban,andAfghanistanwillpursueitonitsown.
InanotherdevelopmentAfghanistanhasresumeditsrelationshipswithIndia,ithaspickedup
thethreadsfromwhereKarzaihadleft.Afghanistanhasacquiredfourattackhelicoptersfrom
India to help it fight a growing Taliban insurgency it is a small but significant deal marking a
shiftinKabulssearchforallies.Pakistan,borderedbyIndiatotheeastandAfghanistantothe
west,seesIndiasdeepeningmilitaryrelationshipwithAfghanistanaspartofanIndianplanto
undermine its stability from the rear. Pakistan has maintained that India must limit itself to
economicassistance.
A report by the US Congressional Research Service published in October has revealed that
IndiasgoalsinAfghanistanare:todenyPakistanstrategicdepthandtheabilitytoblockIndia
from trade and other connections to Central Asia and beyond India also wants to prevent
militants in Afghanistan from attacking Indian targets in Afghanistan it wants to prevent
Pakistan from regaining preponderant influence in present day Afghanistan. Report added
thatit(India)doesnotwanttobesaddledwiththeburdenofhelpingsecureAfghanistanafter
the US departure. It says that Afghanistan also seeks close ties with India because it wants
accesstoIndiaslargeandrapidlygrowingeconomybutwithoutalarmingPakistan.
After the May 2013 border clashes with Pakistan, President Karzai visited India twice to buy
Indian artillery, aircraft, and other systems to better defend its border with Pakistan. India
reportedly resisted the request in order not to become ever more directly involved in the
conflictinAfghanistanoralarmPakistan,thereportadds.
Inarelateddevelopment,ChinahasthrownitsweightfirmlybehindPakistansroleinforging
peaceinAfghanistanandhascalledforanearlyrevivalofstalledtalksbetweenKabulandthe
Taliban. The prospect of resuming the crucial negotiations was discussed between Chinas
specialenvoyonAfghanistanDengXijunandthePrimeMinistersSpecialAssistantonForeign
AffairsTariqFatemionNovember06.DengmetPakistanigovernmentandmilitaryleadersto
discuss ways to end the deadlock in the Afghan peace process. I discussed with [Pakistani]
government officials and military leaders the ways we can push forward the [Afghan] peace
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process and resume talks [between Kabul and the Taliban] as early as possible Resuming
thepeacetalksisnotonlyinAfghanistansinterestbutintheinterestofallregionalcountries,
includingChinaandPakistan,hestressed.
LikePakistan,ChinaopposesamilitarysolutiontotheAfghanconflict,andfavoursintraAfghan
dialogue.WethinkdialogueistheonlywayoutforAfghanistantoachievelastingpeaceand
stability, Deng said. We appreciate Pakistan very much for helping Afghanistan hold the
peace talks in Murree, of course with the assistance of China and the United States. It is a
breakthroughinthiswholeprocess.Wehavedifficultiesandobstacleswhenwehaveinsuch
kindofthings.Wehavemanyproblemsandchallengesaheadbutifwesitdown,ifwetalkwith
each other, then I think the future is bright, Xijun went on to say. He reassured Pakistan of
Chinas continued support in addressing common challenges faced by the region. Both
Pakistan and China have convergent interests and shared goals with regards to Afghanistan.
Pakistan welcomes Chinas growing engagement with Afghanistan, as well as its efforts for
peaceanddevelopment.
Apparently intraAfghan battles of turf shall gradually come to an end and the peace process
shallresume.PeaceinAfghanistanisvitalforthestabilityoftheentireregion.Theunderlying
factorforresumptionofMurreeprocessishowlongPresidentAshrafGhanitakestocalibrate
the extent and limits of his political outreach with Taliban. Extension in the tenure of foreign
forces limits the chances that during next fighting season the Taliban could over run urban
centresoneaftertheotherwhileatthesametime,italsolimitstheTalibantonottofinalizea
politicaldealbeforeatleastend2016,onthepretextofpresenceofforeignforces.Untilthen,
potispoisedtokeepsimmeringpatternswouldwillcontinuejockeyingbetweenfightingand
talking seasons. Anything that would reduce the level of insurgency and infighting in
AfghanistanwouldbewelcomedbyPakistan.
TheNation,November09,2015.
Disclaimer:ViewsexpressedareofthewriterandarenotnecessarilyreflectiveofIPRIpolicy.

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