South Asia

Afghanistan Briefing: Changing Political Dynamics; Urged to Address Dostum-Eschi Issue

A round-up of major happenings in Afghanistan in the last week.

Afghan First Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum. Credit: Reuters

Afghan First Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum. Credit: Reuters

Trilateral talks between Russia, China and Pakistan angers Kabul

The trilateral talks between Russia, China and Pakistan on December 27 ticked Kabul off, especially the suggestion that some Taliban officials could be removed from the UNSC sanctions list in order to revive the peace talks.

Pakistan, China and Russia recently held trilateral talks on Afghanistan. Credit: Twitter

Pakistan, China and Russia recently held trilateral talks on Afghanistan. Credit: Twitter

The Taliban quickly welcome the statement from the trilateral. Kabul, however, took umbrage and pointed out that any decision of lifting the sanctions had to come from the Afghan government. Any delisting of the Taliban could happen only when they abhorred violence and joined the peace process, interior ministry spokesperson said.

Afghan authorities have been increasingly vocal about the fact that Russia was providing weapons to the Taliban to fight against militant groups flying the ISIS flag. Former Kunduz governor Mohammad Omar Safi had earlier claimed that Russian military engineers based in Tajikistan have been refurbishing weapons and vehicles for Taliban for two years. A spokesperson for the Tajik border guard agency called these allegations baseless, but offered to investigate the claims.

AIHRC urges Afghan government to address Dostum-Eschi issue

The matter of the allegations of assault by the men of Afghan’s First Vice President, Abdul Rashid Dostum, refuses to die down. On January 1, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission called on the Afghan government to conduct a “transparent” investigation into the claims that Dostum had directed his men to beat and sexually assault a rival, the former governor of Jawzjan province Ahmad Eschi.

Ahmad Ishchi, who said he was beaten and detained by Afghanistan’s vice president, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum in November. Credit: Reuters

Ahmad Ishchi, who said he was beaten and detained by Afghanistan’s vice president, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum in November. Credit: Reuters

Dostum had refused a summons by the country’s attorney general over the allegations and has not been attending work since the allegations surfaced last month, hence causing a rising crescendo of criticism.

Changing political dynamic of national unity government

A private English news agency, Khaama Press, reported on the changing political dynamics of the national unity government based on an interview of Ata Mohammad Noor, a former ally of chief executive Abdullah Abdullah, with BBC Afghanistan. The Tajik strongman and Jamaat-e-Islami leader said that he was “no more counting on the decision making capabilities” of Abdullah.

The ‘weak’ performance by Abdullah of putting forward the views of Jamaat-e-Islami in the last two and half year was the reason for the direct talks between him and President Ashraf Ghani, Noor said. He revealed that an agreement which will institutionalise their “political understanding” would be signed.

The private TV channel TOLOnews published a report stating that there was a growing loss of faith in the national unity government (NUG). It quoted analysts and MPs who are unhappy with the continuing drift within the NUG.  An analyst Haroon Mir said that the spread of rift to “other parties” like Noor was a “sign of political failure.”

Khaama also reported about the emergence of photos on Afghan social media of women in the northern province of Jawzjan who have picked up arms to resist against the Taliban and ISIS. The group is apparently led by a 53-year-old women fighter and comprises around 45 fighters.