Tons of money grabbed by Northern Alliance
Karzai government deprived of desperately needed cash

By our correspondent

KABUL: The Russians are believed to have shipped six containers full of currency to Afghanistan, which never reached Kabul and was grabbed by Northern Alliance allies.

The NA is apparently busy in fulfilling its own secret agenda, in what appears to be widening gap between the Karzai Administration and its allies, diplomatic sources here said.

Reports said General Fahim's brother Yaseen is busy in selling Afghanis recently delivered to the NA through these Russian containers. Yaseen was buying up to $600,000 daily through certain moneychangers. Bags full of Afghanis were also reportedly being sent to the money markets in Peshawar and Quetta to buy dollars.

Sources say the Punjsheris of the NA also seem to be unwilling to disperse these freshly printed Afghanis, it is receiving from Germany through Russia. Recently seven container loads of Afghanis had arrived in Punjsher valley and all were kept by the NA and not sent to Kabul's Karzai administration, in spite of the great shortage of funds at Kabul.

Intentionally, or perhaps ignorant of such moves, the interim Karzai government has asked UN to provide funds to pay government officials in Kabul. NA leaders and warlords as in the past, are still serving their own as well as foreign interests. Security situation all around Afghanistan is extremely poor, night being the worst time. Looting, massacre, car lifting and war lordism is once again order of the day. Most of the Afghans, have supported NA, only to bring a change. Almost all Afghans remember the atrocities of NA in pre-Taliban era and do not trust them. They also feel that despite presence of coalition troops, the situation will deteriorate and cannot be controlled.

The recent infighting at Kunduz between General Rasheed Dostum and General Faheem forces on January 21, 22, 2002 is a point in case. Afghanistan with its peculiar socio-cultural environments has been known for its successful tribal system and Jirga rule for centuries. The main tribal/ethnic composition of Afghan-society has remained approximately 50% Pushtoons, 20% Tajiks, 11% Hazaras (Shias), 9% Uzbeks and 10% others. Pushtoons being in majority have always had an edge over others in ruling Afghanistan.

Even before the Soviet invasion in 1979, Afghanistan was ruled by a Pushtoon leader, King Zahir Shah who headed a set-up of balanced representation by all factions/ethnic groups. Today, after two decades of war, the Afghan society totally in shambles, still finds a Pushtoon leader heading the interim Afghan government.

However, this time, even with a Pushtoon leader on top, the interim Afghan government seems to be inclined towards Northern Alliance (NA) - a group of Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara minorities. Such a scenario, seems to be augmenting the imbalances and dangers of Afghanistan. On the other hand NA, in spite of occupying/controlling important cities of Afghanistan and holding three most important ministries of defence, Interior and foreign affairs, due to her inherent weaknesses is unlikely to deliver any goods to the Afghan people.

Infact, NA is not a well-defined organisation. It was formed in 1996/97 by a Tajik Commander Abdullah Shah Masood in response to a newly emerged 'Taliban' revolution. Comprising of various small political groups like Pushtoon Ittehad-e-Islami (Prof Abdul Rasul Sayyaf), Uzbek Jumbesh-e-Milli (Abdur Rashid Dostum), Jamiat-e-Islami (General Ismail) and Hizb-e-Wahadat (Karim Khalili), NA took the shape of a politico-military organisation headed by Professor Rabbani. However, it never carried a good repute. Its military head, ASM was considered to be a traitor by the Afghans as he entered into a truce with the Russians during Jihad.

In addition, various leaders of this alliance were self-styled warlords, playing for their own as well as foreign interests. Most of them gained bad repute due to the lawlessness, looting and atrocities undertaken by them during the early 90s. Mutual distrust, factional divide, lust for power and disunity within NA, were the major reasons for their failure against Taliban.

Their survival had mainly depended upon foreign support from Russia, India and Iran. In the post-September 11 scenario, NA had gained much more importance than before. Having assisted US/coalition forces in the ground battle against Taliban, they had been obliged and given a lion's share in the interim Afghan government.

However their overt and covert activities in the past 3 months, in collaboration with Russia, India and Iran are intensifying, to gain complete control over Afghanistan/Kabul and serve the vested interests of their own as well as foreign masters.

On the diplomatic front, in spite of catching three most important ministries, NA has been struggling for more representation in the interim government. In the same race, Dr Abdul Rehman, an ex staunch supporter of Masood had managed a seat in the cabinet from the Rome group.

It had sparked reservations that the move was a ploy to get greater number of seats for Panjsheris/Shoora-e-Nazar in the interim government. On the other hand, Younis Qanuni and Dr Abdullah have nominated practically all ex supporters of the late Dr. Najibullah, in the Afghan Foreign Office. All Directors, Assistant Directors, Raees of Foreign Office etc. are now from the ex communist regime.

Militarily, NA has remained intensely engaged in receiving arms, military supplies and even manpower from its foreign friends. Their covert moves are indicative of their intentions to consolidate hold over important cities/towns of Afghanistan. Recently, in the last week of November, Russia despatched 12 IL 76 aircrafts to Bagram, carrying two groups of Russian specialists, including 200 uniformed officials and 12 intelligence officials. Similarly, on 15 and 17 December 2001, Russia provided a heavy consignment of arms/ammunition and military equipment to commander Daud at Kunduz.

In addition, Russians are pressurising Hamid Karzai's interim government through General Faheem, to make all kind of military hardware deals with Russia. The Indians also seem to be extensively busy in increasing their military influence in Kabul by offering military assistance and imparting military training to NA troops. Their intelligence operators have been working in Kabul vigorously to organise the transportation of 136 Pakistani prisoners to India and gather documentary proofs against Pakistan.

Indians are also engaged in long term planning and providing assistance in various other fields like restructuring of military/police Academy, education, health etc. Iran being the third foreign hand playing in Afghanistan, is also sending hefty consignments of arms, ammunitions and ration to NA.

On December 23, Ismail Khan of Herat provided 11 trucks load of small arms and RPG ammunition to Dostum, out of the assistance received by him from Iran. The assistance is going on to this extent that, Brigadier Jafri and Brigadier Baghbani of IRGC Sistan/Balochistan have themselves remained involved in organising army units and security infrastructure in the neighbouring provinces of Farah and Nimroz. They had also taken along IRGC personnel/heavy consignment of weapons.

Organised looting by General Faheem's men of government stores is a sure sign that NA has some other interior motives and covert plans. In another covert move, on December 10, General Faheem presided over a meeting of leading NA commanders/leaders in which it was decided to deploy Shia troops in the areas of Paktia and Paktika so that the existing differences in the ranks of Pushtoon's be further exploited. As a sequel to its policies/plans, during the second week of January 2002, when Kabul was demilitarised and taken over by UN peacekeeping forces, NA only removed 5,000 of its 13,000 troops from Kabul. The rest are still stationed here.

NA ministers are also showing too much warmth towards India. In spite of various friendly statements and overtures by Mr Karzai, Mr. Younis Qanuni and Dr. Abdullah have shown no reluctance in hurling threatening statements to Pakistan from New Delhi. In another, internal/secret anti-Pakistan move, it has been learnt that both Qanuni and Abdullah along with few other ministers have planned to malign Pakistan at all international forums. They have planned to blame Islamabad for interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan, by propagating that JUI (F), JUI (S) and Jaish-e-Muhammad sent 80,000 fighters to Afghanistan. They are likely to ask for detailing a commission at International forum to investigate the issue.

Prior to fall of Kabul most Afghans saw the Taliban and their policies as an extension of Pakistan policies and hence hated Pakistan. However with Pakistan's changed stance and support to the coalition, this impression has dissipated. Though illiterate, the Afghans being politically savvy, understand their foe and friends, well. That is why bulk of the Afghans in their hearts, hate the Russians and the Iranians more than they hate Pakistanis.

The silent majority of Pakistan-based Afghans who have educated their children, worked and survived in Pakistan, have now surely and steadily found a pro-Pakistan voice in Afghan politics. No amount of Russian/Indian/Iranian money will change their opinion. People see Pakistan as a country that genuinely looked after Afghan interests.

With the worsening situation of security and return of war lordism, many Afghans are repenting the fall of 'Taliban government'. The unfolding of events is thus clearly indicative that NA is heading towards another dreadful end.

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