The Karzai regime’s talks with Pakistani-backed warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar will quicken the pace of rearmament in Afghanistan, due to the civilian population’s expectations of widespread civil war.
According to Abdullah Abdullah, who ran strongly against Karzai in last year’s discredited presidential election, rearmament is already happening in most regions of the country.
“Among the people of Afghanistan as a whole, Hekmatyar’s face is one of misery and suffering and bad news,” Abdullah tells Skyreporter.
“The Afghans know that historically, since the days of Daoud (Afghanistan’s pre-Communist leader in the 1970’s) Hekmatyar was the leader who created the worst circumstances of violence we have suffered. He created the atmosphere that others have exploited ever since.”
Abdullah continues: “Hekmatyar’s men in some parts of the north have mobilized themselves once again. The people who live in those places will not wait for someone from Kabul to decide what to do. They know they’ll have to defend themselves, and they will do so.”
Equally discouraging for Afghans, according to Abdullah, is the attitude of appeasement shown by the United States and it’s NATO allies.
Despite Hekmatyar’s status as a known ally of al Qaeda and one of Washington’s “specially designated terrorists”, complete with a price on his head, the Obama administration seems resigned to the black prince of the Afghan wars regaining a share of power in Kabul, along with his more powerful Taliban counterparts.
“I will be in contact with the Americans about this situation,” says a concerned Dr. Abdullah, “because on the surface, at least, they’re not doing anything to stop it.”
Abdullah leads the Coalition For Hope and Change, including some 50 members of the Afghan parliament. His MPs were among those who today voted down President Karzai’s outrageous decree to stack Afghanistan’s electoral watchdog in his own favor.
Abdullah says his parliamentary block will try to stem advances into Karzai's ruling circle by Hekmatyar and members of his Hizbe Islami party.
“Mr. Karzai has already made a lot of space in the system for Hizbe Islami,” he says. The regime includes several former Hizbe figures and senior aides to Hekmatyar, notably Farook Wardak, Hamid Karzai’s key political fixer and education minister.
“This sends the wrong message to the people as a whole,” Abdullah says. “It sends a message that the best way to achieve your goals is to resort to violence.
“After all Hekmatyar has done he is trying to present himself as a political leader. That’s another sign of how the political process has degraded under the current government of Afghanistan. This is something the Afghan people will never accept.”
As well as Hekmatyar’s chronic use of mass destruction to achieve his goals, he's also viewed as indistinguishable from the shadowy, interventionist leaders of Pakistan’s military establishment.
“It is impossible to look at Hekmatyar and not see the Pakistanis,” Abdullah says. “He wouldn’t have taken these steps without Pakistan’s approval.”
Indeed Pakistan is the crucible upon which Hekmatyar’s on-again, off-again links with the United States were forged, mainly through the C.I.A.
During the 1980’s resistance to Soviet occupation forces, the arch-fundamentalist was given more U.S. tax dollars and weapons than any other Afghan resistance leader. He was one of Charlie Wilson’s darlings (though his name was whitewashed from the disappointing motion picture version of George Crile’s book, Charlie Wilson’s War, produced by Tom Hanks).
The Reagan-era U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Robert Oakley, kept a picture of Hekmatyar on his wall. “There’s our guy,” the ambassador would boast to visitors.
The facts on the ground told a different story. Gulbuddin’s efforts against the Soviets paled in comparison to those of true frontline commanders like Ahmed Shah Massoud. In Pakistan, Hekmatyar’s gunmen terrorized the Afghan refugee community, murdering dozens of moderates and critics of his pseudo-Islamic zealotry.
Gulbuddin gladly took the C.I.A.’s money and guns even while stoking anti-Western sentiments and conniving for absolute power after the collapse of the Afghan Communist regime in 1992.
His subsequent migrations in and out of allegiance with the Taliban were as predictable as is his enthusiasm for the perpetrators of 9/11.
That he has risen again with the help of Pakistan, still a recipient of U.S. tax dollars, even while he calls for Holy War against American troops and citizens, bears out the description we coined in these web pages three years ago (see Boomerang Blowback As Warlord Dupes U.S. Again, posted July 16th, 2007 on Page 25 of Recent Stories).
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is the personification of blowback, but blowback of an incessant, repeating, déjà vu variety, unique even in Afghanistan.
It is boomerang blowback, retracing its wicked arc over Kabul and threatening to reach far beyond Afghan skies.
This time around, it is a much larger, far-reaching terrorist infrastructure that Hekmatyar has helped construct. As a result, it won’t only be Afghan civilians who are condemned to repeat the unlearned histories of 9/11.
Coming soon to Skyreporter: how Hekmatyar’s role in the murders of three journalists make him a marked man for war crimes prosecution.