By: Saadat Stanezai

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Khaama Press News Agency.

Afghanistan has been facing numerous threats and challenges for roughly four decades.  Through the face of these challenges, the country is striving to bring normalcy to the lives of its people but is not successful in doing so.  While there are challenges that are very complex as they are rooted in the interests of some foreign nations, and  a solution for such problems in the near future might be a mere dream, the existences of the warlords in the country is equally dangerous and harmful as it fuel insurgency and obstruct justice; therefore, they should be eliminated as soon as possible and president Ghani must be backed so that the criminal are punished.

Warlordism has a long history and background in Afghanistan that started when the former Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan and the war started in the country.  In that time, around five million Afghans took refuge in the neighboring countries, Pakistan and Iran. The Mujahideen were given weapons and ammunition to fight the Soviet army.  These Mujahideen had commanders who most of the times fought against each other and became the reason for the miseries and misfortunes of so many common Afghans. After the withdrawal of the Soviet army, the Mujahideen commander fought started civil war for power and once again caused so many deaths, disabilities and destructions in the city of Kabul and around the country. The warlordism and anarchism started from that era when these commanders had their own militia and controlled their areas.  These chieftains continued to defy the authority of the central government till the Taliban came into power. During the Taliban time, the warlords mainly vanished and roughly 95% of the country was brought under the rule of the central government.

When the Taliban’s regime was overthrown by the US back in 2001, these commanders once again found a golden opportunity as the US and the NATO countries mainly relied on support from these warlords who helped America topple Taliban.  Unfortunately rather than putting a structure in place through which the influence and strength of these warlords would wane and diminish, they were given generous resources and kudos for their support to the American and NATO led campaign against the Taliban. The group that benefitted the most from this situation was the warlords and commanders belonging to the Northern Alliance. They were given powerful government ministries and embassies in the foreign countries, and their coffins were swollen even further through which they became even more ruthless.

The warlords terrorize and terrify the local population and oppress them in every possible way as they have no regards to the judicial system and the law of the country.  They have nurtured the habit of doing things on their own and are not ready to obey the laws of the land.  In addition, they seize people’s properties, marry their daughters and women by force and kill them whenever they want to.  The government is unable to provide justice to the common people; as a result, some of these people join the ranks of Taliban and start fighting against the central government.

The warlords also challenge the writ of the government and steal the natural resources of the country. A recent example is the confrontation between Nizamuddin Qaisari, a commander belonging to the Jumbesh Mili party and the Afghan commando forces in which the commander was arrested and transferred to Kabul. The commander belongs to the Jumbesh Mili party of general Abdul Rashid Dostum, the first vice president of Afghanistan who is currently living in exile in Turkey.  Another example is of Nadir Shah, who smuggled precious stones and minerals from Afghanistan. This warlord is the brother of Fozia Kofi, a female member of the Afghan parliament or lower house.

As mentioned, warlordism fuels insurgency as well.  Warlords have given illegal weapons to their militias and have created anarchism in their areas.  They have no respect to the rule of law.  When the central government tries to bring them under control, they join the Taliban and cause even more problems for the people and the government. According to the recent reports in Sarkhat news, in Faryad province, commander Nizamuddin Qaisari had around seven thousand armed men and they were protecting their areas from the Taliban.  When Qaisari was arrested by the central government for his criminal activities and the killing of some innocent civilians, his militias left all the places to the Taliban and Taliban easily captured those areas. One warlord from the north, Ahmad Zia Masood last month said that many of the armed men of Jamaiat Islami and Jumbesh Mili are now actively fighting against the government forces in the northern provinces of the country.

Warlordism brings numerous dangers and threats to the lives of the common people as well as they threaten the writ of the government.  In addition, it energizes insurgency and is responsible for the hindrance of justice.  If the international community is really serious in bringing peace to that country, it should pay full attention to this issue and tackle it seriously. President Ashraf Ghani must be given a  helpful hand in this regard and his capacities and abilities must be enhanced so that he is successful in bringing the warlords to the courts. If not, the dire situation in that country may continue indefinitely.