September 20, 2004

BETTER IN THE TENT:

Pakistan pushes for Hekmatyar (Syed Saleem Shahzad, 9/21, Asia Times)

Afghanistan has a distinguished culture and social and political order in which one of the most prominent features is that whoever, from Mughal rulers to former king Zahir Shah, leaves the country for exile, has never been able to regain his writ. Legendary Afghan resistance leader in the jihad against the Soviets in the 1980s, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, is no exception.

Those who know the mujahideen commander closely affirm that the firebrand Hekmatyar of the mid-1970s at Kabul University is no different from the Hekmatyar of today. In one sense this is true - he still vehemently believes in armed struggle against foreign forces in the country, and he is still intimately involved in political wheeling and dealing, in cahoots with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), just like in the mid-1970s.

However, his many years in exile in Iran - he left the country as prime minister when the Taliban came to power in 1996 - seriously undermined his command structure in Afghanistan, and except for carrying out a few sporadic attacks against US forces, his role at present in the resistance is minimal.

Asia Times Online contacts say that this situation has forced the charismatic leader of the past to fully commit to the ISI's agenda for Afghanistan by allowing the political faction of his Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) to participate in the central government in Kabul, and in the meantime they will work to strengthen interim President Hamid Karzai's position ahead of presidential elections next month. Hekmatyar himself, though, at this point is still committed to waging a guerrilla war against US-led forces in Afghanistan.


Use him and then whack him.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 20, 2004 10:47 AM
Comments

Legendary Afghan resistance leader in the jihad against the Soviets in the 1980s, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, is no exception.

To find out all about this "legendary" opportunistic b******, take a look at Robert D. Kaplan's Soldiers of God: With Islamic Warriors in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at September 20, 2004 11:01 AM

He's a useless nutjob.

Posted by: M Ali Choudhury at September 21, 2004 6:13 AM
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