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article imageFormer Afghan Warlords set to join the Karzai government in Kabul

By Julian Worker     May 11, 2009 in Politics
The government of President Hamid Karzai is enticing former warlords to join his government. Gulbuddin Hekmetyar, the leader of the fundamentalist Hizb-e-Islami party, wants to join the Karzai government despite being a current ally of the Taliban.
President Hamid Karzai went to Washington DC last week. Just before leaving, he selected as his vice-presidential running-mate a former warlord, Mohammad Qasim Fahim, a controversial figure who fought against not only the Soviet invaders but also other warlords trying to take over his territory.
In the massively complicated world of Afghanistan politics, it’s also believed that Gulbuddin Hekmetyar, the leader of the fundamentalist Hizb-e-Islami party, also wants to join the Karzai government. This is ironic as his forces have been fighting as allies of the Taliban just south of Kabul in Logar province. It seems as though Hekmetyar wants to swap sides and, under a power-sharing deal, have his party fill ministerial posts in the government. Hekmetyar would abandon the Taliban and would go into self-imposed exile in Saudi Arabia for three years, before returning to Afghanistan. .
Much of northern Afghanistan was once ruled by the Uzbek “general”, Rashid Dostum, who had been part of the Communist regime. At the time of the September 11th attacks, General Dostum was being beaten into submission by the Taliban. Thanks to the United States’ desire for local allies and backed by its superior firepower, General Dostum turned the tables on the Taliban and soon became one of the new rulers of the country. Even though Dostum is in exile in Istanbul after a murderous assault on a Turkoman leader, he remains heavily influential in Kabul.
Most warlords now exercise power by controlling jobs, security services, and the allocation of contracts. Mr Karzai is bringing all these powerful warlords into the government so that no creditable alternative to his presidency can arise. By satisfying their lust for power, he also ensures that they share his successes and also, more importantly, his failures.
More about Afghanistan, Karzai, Warlords, General dostum, Hekmetyar
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