Intricate Afghan politics and internal dimensions

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The intricate politics in Afghanistan often has several imponderables and surprises which tend to change the political course unannounced.

The growing differences within the Taliban and also between the Pushtuns and the non- Pushtuns has been a cause of serious concern, especially following reports of Uzbek and Tajik leaders of the Taliban being harassed by their Pushtun colleagues. There have also been instances of detention of non-Pushtun Taliban cadres by the Pushtun cadres on some pretext or the other. Infighting between these cadres has been a regular phenomenon leading to speculation about the level and degree of bitter feelings among them.

Against the backdrop of these developments, the Russian daily “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” recently mentioned of likely plans by the Taliban to attempt an assassination on the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (FNSA) leader Ahmad Massoud. The paper claims that this was reported to them by a source in the FNSA from among former officers of the Afghan special forces, who have joined the Front to counter the Taliban. According to the Russian daily, the source indicated that the threat to Ahmad Massoud was of serious nature and that it was necessary to seek help from the Russian special services to ensure the safety of Ahmad Massoud.

“Nezavisimaya Gazeta” goes on to mention in the article, quoting few FNSA sources, that for several months now, Taliban intelligence has been trying to infiltrate their agents-saboteurs into Ahmad Massoud’s inner circle. Once again, quoting the Afghan special forces source, “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” mentions that the Taliban’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR), with the participation of Pakistani special services, is infiltrating its own agents into the ranks of the anti-Taliban resistance forces, tasked with the physical destruction of the FNSA leadership.

The “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” source, while expressing pessimism about the Taliban’s capability to undertake such penetrative operations, mentions that the support that the Taliban receives from the Pakistani counterparts, would certainly enable them to be more effective.

The paper further mentions, referring to the source, that a combined effort by the Taliban’s intelligence and sabotage unit alongwith their Pakistani counterparts could achieve success in their objectives. The source referred to the manner in which the Lion of Panjshir and father of Ahmad Massoud, the famous Ahmad Shah Massoud was killed on September 9, 2001 by the Al Qaeda. The Taliban had then announced in a message to the Northern Front that – “your leader is dead”, as if to declare their success.

Ahmad Shah Massoud had fought the Taliban and the Al Qaeda valiantly just as his son has been doing now.

Since the end of March this year, the forces of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan have noticeably intensified military operations against the Taliban. By early April, the FNSA and its allies from other anti-Taliban groups (Afghan Freedom Front, National Liberation Front, National Resistance Council, etc.) carried out numerous attacks on Taliban militants in more than 10 provinces of the country.

Although every anti-Taliban faction has its leaders, Ahmad Massoud remains today the main symbol of resistance to what the National Resistance refers to as “violent mullahs” and themost popular leader of the armed opposition in Afghanistan. Therefore, the FNSA fears that the Taliban would undoubtedly try to neutralise Ahmad Massoud in order to make a dent in the anti-Taliban resistance force.

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