Afghanistan Sguardi e Analisi

Afghanistan Sguardi e Analisi

Afghanistan: Sguardi e analisi" è un progetto aperto finalizzato a comprendere e discutere le ragioni - e le possibili soluzioni - dei conflitti afghani.

martedì 17 novembre 2015

The fragmentation of the Afghan insurrectional front: from national war to global jihad? (CeMiSS 8/2015)

by Claudio Bertolotti

CeMiSS - Osservatorio Strategico 8/2015 pp. 133-135
ISBN 978-88-99468-10-1

Brief general overview
The 28th of September hundreds of Taliban have overrun the northern city of Kunduz, taking control of areas, military bases, police compounds, governmental buildings and freeing hundreds of prisoners from detection centers. The city of Kunduz – which is symbolically and strategically important – is the first provincial capital taken by the Taliban; it shows the incapability and the low operational level of the Afghan National Security Forces and the lack of support by the Nato train, advise and assist role of the Resolute Support Mission. Why is the city of Kunduz important? Because it represents a gateway to Afghan northern provinces and neighboring Central Asian countries. This event represents a clear indicator of the worsening security situation in Afghanistan, despite the presence of Nato and Us forces. This could force the US to maintain more troops on the ground in order to contain the Armed Opposition Groups expansion.
The Taliban fragmentation
Taliban released a statement of the movement’s new leader, Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, in which he encouraged unity union and harmony within the Taliban and rejected the ongoing peace process involving Kabul’s regime, US and Pakistan. Mansour was chosen as the new leader and two hard-liners from the Haqqani Network - Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhunzada and Mullah Sirajuddin Haqqani, the son of Jalaluddin Haqqani founder of the hard-line network - were appointed as his deputies. Mansour, who was said to have been interested to peace talks in July declared that ‘the jihad will continue until an Islamic system will be established.’ He indicated the peace process as the ‘words of the enemy.’
In an odd twist mirroring the events of the Taliban, Pakistani media reported that Jalaluddin Haqqani, the founder of the Haqqani network, died over one year ago. The Taliban denied his death in a statement on the official Islamic Emirate website that is purportedly from Haqqani endorsing Mansour as the new leader.
A group of pro-taliban Ulema, religious clerics, have failed to resolve tensions between Mullah Akhtar Mansoor and his opponents and the dissident. The 23rd of September the Ulema council stated that the new leadership after mullah Omar’s demise had been appointed following an incorrect procedure because without the principle of the unanimously of all ulema, members of the leadership council, military commanders and influential elders. In addition, the ulema council (comprising former Taliban ministers, governors, commanders and high-ranking officials) also asked the United States to expel their military forces from Afghanistan. This occurs as Afghanistan Islamic Movement Fidai Mahaz (former Taliban), claimed that there has been no breakthrough to resolve issues among the Taliban leadership despite forcing Mullah Yaqoob (the son of mullah Omar and military commander operating in Afghanistan) to accept Mullah Akhtar Mansoor as the new Taliban leader.
The struggle for power has aggravated existing divisions over whether to continue fighting or join the negotiation process, as well as tribal, local and regional competitions that were once suppressed by mullah Omar’s authority.
The other major player is Pakistan which has strong leverage over Taliban militants who moved there after the (fall of the Taliban regime in 2001), but other factions, in particular the Taliban based in Qatar, do not trust Islamabad and oppose the negotiation process. At the moment peace talks involving the Afghan government, the Taliban, Pakistan, and others have been postponed.
From the security viewpoint, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General John Campbell, has proposed to the Pentagon and NATO five alternatives for troop presence in Afghanistan. The options include keeping the U.S. military presence at 10,000 troops; reducing the total to 8,000 or 6,000; or continuing with the current drawdown plans (source The Wall Street Journal).
NATO and the U.S. at the moment have about 13,000 troops in Afghanistan, the main part engaged in training, advising and assisting, following the end of the combat mission the 31st of December 2014.

Brief analysis, assessments, forecasts

It is assessed that a large and quickly troop reduction could increase the pressure on the weak Afghanistan's government from the Taliban and other Armed Opposition Groups (AOG), in particular the new threat represented by the groups affiliates to IS/Daesh. In brief, it is tangible that the Taliban internal situation has further deteriorated and is getting worse as time passes.
Furthermore it is assessed that the Taliban fragmentation process will boost the conflict evolution, imposing the role and the dynamics connected with the IS/Daesh strategic penetration in the Indian Sub-continent.

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