Taliban-Haqqani rift brings Pakistan’s ISI out of the woodwork in Kabul
New Delhi, Sep 06: The ISI which has claimed that it is a by-stander when it comes to Afghanistan has now turned into a trouble shooter with the government taking longer than anticipated to form.
The latest headache for the ISI is the reported clash between a group of the Taliban and its long standing ally, the Haqqani Network. Reports said that the Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was injured in a clash with the Haqqani Network. This prompted ISI chief, Lt. General Faiz Hameed to rush to Kabul in an attempt to iron out differences.
Everything will be okay, Hameed said in a video message from Kabul. On being asked if he would meet with the Taliban leadership, Hameed remained non-committal but added that they are working on peace and stability. I have just landed he said.
Several Afghansitan watchers tell OneIndia that the formation of the government is not as simple as it looks. The dispute between the Taliban and its allies is worsening. The rift was out in the open after it was decided to chose Haibatullah Akhundzada as the supreme leader. It was also decided that Baradar would work under his leadership.
The power struggle was something that was expected. The Haqqani Network are not agreeable to Akhundzada's leadership. Officials say that this dispute has forced the ISI to come out in the open. This is a clear sign that the Taliban is completely under the control of the ISI.
Former Afghanistan Vice President, Amrullah Saleh told the Daily Mail that despite Pakistan's claims to the contrary the Taliban were being micromanaged by the ISI. He said that the spokesperson for the Taliban receives instructions from the ISI every hour.
Prior to the visit by Hameed, Pakistan's army chief, General Qamar Bajwa met with British foreign secretary Dominic Raab and said that his country would assist in the formation of an inclusive administration in Afghanistan.
Micheal Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute writing in 19fortyfive.com said that the Taliban could not meet its target of setting up a new government. This is because the Haqqanis and several other Taliban factions would not accept Akhundzada as their supreme leader. Rubin said that this delay brought ISI out of the woodwork and forced it to depute a delegation led by Hameed for the emergency trip. A unitary Taliban has always been an illusion as the Quetta Shura is different from the Haqqani Network which is different from the Northern Taliban.
Several Pakistan media outlets have reported about the ISI chief's visit to Kabul. Reports said that the ISI chief would discuss issues relating to security, pending request from countries about repartiation and economic matters.
Rubin also wrote that there are factions that are divided over issues such as the battle in Panjshir. Not many are enthusiastic about the battle in Panjshir. He said that the Taliban largely conquered Afghanistan on the basis of political deals rather than military victories. This is one of the main reasons why many within the Taliban are not enthusiastic about the Panjshir battle, Rubin also wrote.