Search

 

Cablegate: Nangarhar Political Landscape: The Parties

VZCZCXRO0489
RR RUEHBW RUEHIK RUEHPOD RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #1254/01 1430553
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 220553Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4051
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KABUL 001254

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A, S/CRS, EUR/RPM
NSC FOR WOOD
OSD FOR SHIVERS
CETCOM FOR CG CSTC-A, CG CJTF-101 POLAD

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL AF
SUBJECT: NANGARHAR POLITICAL LANDSCAPE: THE PARTIES

1. (SBU) Summary and introduction: In Nangarhar, the most
influential political institutions are the Jihadi parties, which
capitalize on bonds formed between Jihadi commanders and tribal
leaders during the Mujahadin period of the 1990s. In the fight
against the Soviets, the Jihadi commanders provided material support
to tribal leaders to win their loyalty. The commanders also
promoted themselves as the defenders of Islam, which won the
affection of Nangarhar residents. Tribal leaders now defer to the
former Jihadi commanders and accept them as political leaders.
Tribal shuras are also important, but tend to support former Jihadi
leaders rather than driving the political agenda. Loyalties to a
particular commander trump political ideology when forming electoral
coalitions. Most Nangarhar political parties support President
Karzai, but there are no formal alliances between these parties.
The most influential parties in Nangarhar are as follows:

HIA and HIK
-----------
2. (SBU) In Nangarhar, Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) and
Hezb-e-Islami Khalis (HIK) factions, led by former Nangarhar and
current Kabul Governor Din Mohammad, exercise the most influence.
Both of these parties emerged from the original Hezb-e-Islami
movement founded by Gulbuddin Hekmetyar (HIG). Hekmetyar's faction
radicalized to oppose the presence of international forces in
Afghanistan. More moderate members of the movement supported the
new Afghan leadership and formed a shura in the name of
Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA), which registered with the Ministry
of Justice as a new political party. However, in Nangarhar the
connections remain strong, and HIA is still popularly known as HIG.


3. (SBU) Three Nangarharis -- Engineer Gaffar, Dr. Fazal Mohammad
Ibrahimi (currently an advisor in the Public Health Ministry), and
Mawlawi Attaullah Lodin (currently a parliamentarian) -- lead HIA in
the eastern region and are members of the national HIA shura. HIA
enjoys strong support from the Nangarhar community. It is the only
party in the region to have established district level councils in
all 22 Nangarhar districts, holding frequent public meetings all
over the province.

4. (SBU) Although it sprang from the same movement, the Khalis
faction of Hezb-e-Islami (HIK) has opposed Hekmetyar since early in
the Mujahadin period. When the Taliban took over Afghanistan, HIK
split into two factions: the extremist group led by Younas Khalis,
which continued to support the Taliban, while the more moderate
faction led by the late Haji Qadir fought against them. After the
Taliban's fall, Qadir's faction supported the new government, seized
control of the Nangarhar government, and worked with coalition
forces (although the relationship was often rocky). The Nangarhar
Jihadi Shura installed Qadir as Nangarhar Governor in 2001. He then
moved to Kabul to become the Public Works Minister and Second Vice
President during the transitional government.

5. (SBU) Qadir was the key HIK leader until 2002 when he was
assassinated in Kabul. After Qadir's death, his brother Haji Din
Mohammad took the lead of the party and became governor of
Nangarhar. Presently Din Mohammad runs the national leadership of
this moderate faction through a shura located in Nangarhar. Dr.
Asef Qazizada, one of the shura members, is the eastern region HIK
focal point and public face of the party in Nangarhar.

6. (SBU) After the split, Khalis's faction remained opposed to the
new government and involved in insurgent activities. Khalis issued
a fatwa saying jihad should be waged against the new Afghan
Government and coalition forces. Khalis's son Anwar ul Haq Mujaheed
now leads this extremist faction, called the Tora Bora Front.
Although well known in the province, they announced a boycott of the
government, do not participate in elections, and are widely
recognized as an insurgent group. The Tora Bora Front is most
influential in southwest Nangarhar in the Khogyani tribal area.

Northern Alliance
-----------------
7. (SBU) In Nangarhar, the Naween and Jamiat-e-Islami parties
compete during elections, but both actively support the United Front
(which is locally seen as simply the reincarnation of the Northern
Alliance) and in local politics are seen as one entity. Ethnic
tensions and tribal loyalties dominate the relationship between
these two parties and others in Nangarhar. The United Front does

KABUL 00001254 002 OF 003


not have wide support in Nangarhar, but most Pashaii from the north
of the province (who are ethnically and linguistically distinct from
Pashtuns) support the Northern Alliance. Only small numbers of
Nangarhar Pashtun support the Northern Alliance.

8. (SBU) When the Taliban took over Afghanistan, Jamiat-e-Islami
formed an active resistance force in the region, with the Pashaii
Hazrat Ali and the Mohmand Pashtun Shahzada Mazlumyar at the head of
the party. During the Taliban period, Hazrat Ali, a Pashaii
commander from northern Nangarhar, led the Northern Alliance forces
in Nangarhar. After the Taliban's fall, he remained the Alliance's
regional head and led the Jamiat-e-Islami in the eastern region.
Leading up to the 2004 presidential election, Hazrat Ali threw his
support to Qanooni's new Naween Party.

Sayaf Party
-----------
9. (SBU) The Hezb-e-Tanzemi Dawat-e-Islami Afghanistan (Sayaf Party)
is a former Jihadi party. The party's Nangarhar influence is mostly
centered in Shinwari districts in southeast Nangarhar and Chaparhar
District south of Jalalabad. Previously, the party's influence was
limited in Nangarhar, but it is now on the rise. The late Abdul
Halim Malingyar, who was a powerful commander from the southeast of
the province, was the party's regional head until his death in 2007.
Haji Awal Khan took over as the regional head of the party after
Malingyar's death. Fazal Hadi Muslimyar, one of Malingyar's
proteges and the Nangarhar Provincial Council Chairman, is the
party's provincial head and is the most active party leader in the
eastern region. His success in gaining the Provincial Council
leadership is largely responsible for the party's increasing
influence. The Sayaf Party strongly supports President Karzai, but
may now be hedging its bets.

Afghan Millat Party
-------------------
10. (SBU) The Pashtun-nationalist Afghan Millat is not a Jihadi
party and is thus less reliant on personal loyalties to its
leadership for influence. Engineer Gul Hussein and Malim Gul
Mohammad lead the party in Nangarhar, but are not seen as
individually influential. Most Afghan Millat members in Nangarhar
support the party out of a sense of Pashtun identity. Nangarhar
Afghan Millat members tend to support the idea that Pashtuns should
dominate Afghan politics and feel a close affinity to the Awami
National Party (ANP) from Pakistan, although Nangarhar party
officials claim there is no formal link with the Pakistani party.
Although Afghan Millat enjoys some support in all tribal areas, it
is mainly influential in northeastern Nangarhar. The party's center
of support is among the Mohmand tribe, which mostly occupies the
northeast and central portions of Nangarhar and overlaps the border
with Pakistan into the Mohmand Agency of the Federally Administered
Tribal Area. Teachers and the education establishment strongly
support Afghan Millat in Nangarhar.

PDPA
----
11. (SBU) The leftist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan
(PDPA) is fractured in Nangarhar, but appears to be experiencing a
resurgence. Nangarhar residents perceive that much of the Afghan
security forces' leadership is sympathetic to the PDPA although not
formally affiliated with this party. Most of the PDPA support is
centered in Jalalabad, although there are small pockets of support
scattered throughout the province.

New to the Scene
----------------
12. (SBU) Two new parties may prove influential in the coming
elections:

-- Hezb-e-Jamhori Afghanistan (Republican Party of Afghanistan),
with Provincial Council Deputy Chairman Mawlawi Abdul Aziz as the
provincial head, launched in March 2008. The party's main
constituency is the Ulema (Islamic religious scholars) community.
It is firmly supporting President Karzai. Behind the scenes,
Governor Sherzai is supporting this party (his Mahaz-e-Mili Party
enjoys little support in Nangarhar, probably because it is
associated with southern tribal Pashtuns).

-- The Sole Carwan (Peace Caravan), founded by Haji Qadir's son Haji
Zahir, launched in May 2008. Zahir claims he aims to create a party

KABUL 00001254 003 OF 003


of rejuvenation, focusing on youth development. He uses this
platform to oppose openly Governor Sherzai and has stated that he
and his party will oppose President Karzai in the upcoming
elections.

One to Watch: Awami National Party
----------------------------------
13. (SBU) With their recent success in the Pakistani parliamentary
elections, many Nangarhar political players are reaching out to the
Awami National Party (ANP). For example, Haji Zahir sent a
delegation of influential elders to Peshawar to extend Nangarhar's
congratulations on the ANP's success in the recent Pakistani
elections. The ANP has a natural following in Nangarhar. It widely
supports traditional Pashtun cultural celebrations in Nangarhar,
such as poetry readings and festivals, which endears the party to
the local populace. Although its founder Ghafar Khan Pacha lived in
Peshawar, Pakistan, he refused to be buried there and was interred
in Jalalabad during the communist government under Najibullah. The
ANP holds an annual gathering in Jalalabad to commemorate Ghafar
Khan's burial. They announced in 2007 they would form a foundation,
called the Ghafar Khan Welfare Trust, to assist in Nangarhar
reconstruction. The party has two acknowledged and close allies in
Nangarhar -- Afghan Millat and the former communists -- although
they claim no official links. Najibullah's government openly
provided financial support to the ANP during the communist regime in
return for information and support on the Pakistan side of the
border. Local residents speculate that the Nangarhar intelligence
services maintain these old contacts for the same reasons today.
People also speculate that Governor Sherzai has indirect contacts
with the ANP, although he publicly denies this and has been feuding
with ANP leaders since his days in exile in Quetta.

WOOD

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC