HISTORY OF AFGHANISTAN (1985-1996)



4. Post Cold War Period

When Mikhail Gorbachev became the Soviet leader in 1985, he gave high priority to getting Soviet troops out of the costly, unpopular, and apparently unwinnable war in Afghanistan. In May 1988 Afghanistan, Pakistan, the USSR, and the United States signed agreements providing for an end to foreign intervention in Afghanistan, and the USSR began withdrawing its forces. The Soviet withdrawal was completed in February 1989. It was a historic victory for the Afghan nation, which with great determination and sacrifice defeated a superpower and defended its national independence. However, despite the withdrawal of Soviet forces, destruction and killing continued in Afghanistan.

Both the US and the former USSR bear responsibility for the humanitarian catastrophe and for having attempted to control Afghanistan. On one side, the USSR put some Afghan puppets in the government and practiced policies of repression for its own interests. And on the other side, US was enforcing hegemony over the country for its own self-interested strategic designs. In 1998, Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter’s National Security Advisor admitted that covert US intervention began long before the USSR sent in troops. "The most violent and anti-American of the groups supported by the CIA are now the leaders of Afghanistan, setting human rights back centuries to the extent that even neighboring Muslim governments fear destabilization through Taliban regime".(Source: Human Rights Watch, New York, December 1992; Economist, 24 July 1993)

If these powers had merely attempted to aid the Afghan people to develop their country, there would obviously have been no such humanitarian crisis. Unfortunately, the massive arms supplies held by both the Soviet-aided army and the Islamic resistance fighters (backed by the US, with help from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and others) fueled the fighting. The following years was to see the country divided between numerous field commanders, resistance groups, and the Kabul regime.

In 1989, several mujahedin factions, who did not sign the agreement concerning the Soviet withdrawal, maintained their fight against the Afghanistan central government with weapons that they continued to obtain from the United States via Pakistan. They rejected offers from the pro-Soviet Najibullah government to make peace and share power, and refused to consider participating in any national government that included Communists. They attempted to besiege Jalalabad, a strong point for Najibullah in southern Afghanistan. After months of fighting, however, the Afghan government scored a clear victory. Najibullah continued to receive Soviet food, fuel, and weapons to help maintain his control. However, the mujahedins persisted in terrorizing the civilian population by rocket bombardment of main cities and Kabul. Finally in late 1991 the USSR and the United States signed an agreement to end military aid to the Kabul government and to the mujahedin.

In 1992 as the resistance closed in on Kabul, the Najibullah government fell and the Peshawar groups joined forces with General Abdul Rashid Dostum, an Uzbek, and Ahmad Shah Masood, a Tajik, in the north and central mountains to assume control in Kabul. As a result, Burhanuddin Rabbani, an ethnic Tajik, became interim president from July through December 1992, and took office as full president in January 1993. By besieging Kabul in early 1992, a strong attempt was made to keep the Pashtun leaders, who traditionally held the power in Afghanistan, out of the most important government positions. The two commanders, Ahmad Shah Masood and Dostum concluded a pact to keep Hykmatyar's ethnic Pashtun militia out of Kabul. Hykmatyar responded by laying a three-year siege around the southern outskirts of the capital. By August 1992, daily indiscriminate bombardment and ongoing rocketing by the forces of Gulbuddin Hykmatyar had driven out half a million civilians from the capital city Kabul and killed over 2,000 people. The group of Masood with Gulbudin Hykmatyar's Hezeb-e Islami were involved in bloody clashes which resulted in considerable causalities on both sides.

The term of Rabbani's government expired in December 1994, but he continued to hold office amid the chaos of the civil war. Factional fighting since the beginning of January 1994 kept government officers from actually occupying ministries and discharging government responsibilities.

In June 1996 Gulbuddin Hykmatyar, who had resigned as Prime Minister in 1994 to launch a military offensive against forces loyal to Rabbani, again assumed the post, this time to help Rabbani's government fight the Taliban threat. Despite their efforts, the Taliban took Kabul in September 1996. Rabbani and Hekmatyar fled north, joining other factions in an opposition alliance against the Taliban. The opposition coalition of ethnic Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Hazaras took the name United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan, commonly known as the United Front or the Northern Alliance. The Taliban advanced north toward the mountain strongholds of the Northern Alliance and by the late 1990s had taken control of almost all of Afghanistan. Northern Alliance forces held a small portion of the country's territory in the north.

When in power, from 1992 to 1996, the perfidious Rabbani-Masood gangs (Jamiat-i-Islami and Shorai Nazar) slaughtered the inhabitants of Afshar and other residential areas in Kabul and whitewashed the faces of all murderers. The story is long in terms of the barbarity and infamy they perpetrated against countless innocent and defenceless women, girls and young boys. It is difficult to trust today the Northern Alliance after what they inflicted upon the people of Afghanistan during all the years of their jihadi rule of gore and painful infamy. Their "postering of democratic baptism and conversion to belief in human rights is unreliable", said Rawa, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. Their track record of numerous massacres, looting national assets and archaeological riches, extorting vast amounts of money from defenceless people and perpetrating other crimes and atrocities are too numerous to list. The Afghan people feel that they escaped the talons of Taliban criminality only to find itself in the dead-end of jihadi murderers.


Ahmed Shah Masood

Ahmed Shah Masood

Defense Minister in 1992.

Ahmad Shah Masood was born in Panshir, northern suburb of Kabul province in 1956. He was a member of Jamiat-e Islami Afghanistan, a non-Pashtun organization, headed by Rabbani. He was nominated as Defence Minister after mujahedin came to power in 1992 in Kabul. He was well known for his past military successes against the Soviets, and was given the accolade "the Afghan who won the Cold War" by the Wall Street Journal. The legendary anti-Taliban mujahedin leader died in an Afghan hospital from wounds suffered in a suicide bomb attack in September 2000.

Abdel Rashid Dostum

Abdel Rashid Dostum

 

Dostum was born in 1954, in Khowja Dokoh, Juzjan Province, North of Afghanistan. He is a former communist General, and is now believed to be the head of Jumbesh-i-Milli Islami (National Islamic Movement). His power was greatly reduced when the Taliban took over his main stronghold in Mazar-e-Sharif.

Burhanuddin Rabbani

Burhanuddin Rabbani

Interim President from Oct 92 to Oct 1993. President from Oct 1993 to Sept 1996.

Burhanuddin Rabbani, an ethnic Tajik, was born in 1940, Faiz Abad, North of Afghanistan. He carried out military activities during 1978-1992 within Afghanistan against Kabul regime.
After the resignation of President Najibullah in 1992, Rabbani was elected as interim president of Islamic Council of Mujaheddin factions by Mujaheddin executive council in October 1992.
He spent most of his presidency in fighting with other Mujahedin militia and Taliban who forced to oust him from Kabul power. As results of fierce fighting between his chief of Command Ahmad Shah Masood and rival Gullbuddin Hykmatyar of Hezib-e Islami Afghanistan more than 50,000 people were killed in Afghanistan.



Gulbuddin Hykmatyar

Gulbuddin Hykmatyar

He was elected Primer Minister by the government of Rabbani in 1996.

An ethnic Pashtun born in 1947 in the northern Afghan province of Baghlan.
Hykmatyar attended two years of engineering faculty in Kabul University. He carried out a number of violent acts within territory of Afghanistan during the Mohammad Daoud presidency and following regimes. He was involved in politics in late 1970 and became member of "Ikhwan-e Muslimin" (Muslims' Brothers) movement in 1970. He received most of military and financial aides from the US government and CIA during the Afghan War against Kabul regime. After the mujahedin came to power of Kabul regime, Gulbuddin continued fighting against Rabbani's government. At present he remains outside Afghanistan.

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