Kunduz attack: The web of intrigues Comment
The attack on Kunduz city and its occupation by the Taliban forces was shocking for the world in general and for the Afghan people in particular. It showed the Taliban have the prowess to expand beyond the Afghan countryside and capture large towns, even briefly. The attack cast doubts on the competence of the Afghan forces and raised questions about their expertise and dexterity. On the other hand, certain angles of the unpleasant episode have highlighted the exact motive for the attack, its timings and purpose.
Those analysing the attack intensely and with deep perspective on the regional situation said that it was timed to coincide with the Pakistani delegation’s presence in New York and raising the issue of Kashmir at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). They say the attack did not come out of the blue; it was ostensibly orchestrated by actors in Kabul and New Delhi. It was done to steer away the world’s attention from the Kashmir issue, the Indian atrocities in the Valley and involvement in terror activities in Pakistan. Yes, there was a presence of the Taliban around the Kunduz city for quite some time but the timing of the attack and the way it was mounted had definitely wide-ranging sinister objectives.
Strangely, two shady characters behind the assault on Kunduz were Mullah Abdul Salam Akhund and Mullah Muhammad Hasan Akhund. Both Taliban leaders were arrested by Pakistan some three years ago but were released on the intervention and assurances of former Afghan president Hamid Karzai. These two leaders are known to be close to the ex-Afghan president, whose antipathy and aversion for Pakistan are known to all.
To top it all, the Kunduz city is located some 600 kilometres away from the Pakistan borders but the attack was still linked to the Pakistani intelligence. This was strongly denied by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
While the Taliban have been trying to capture key provincial districts and important cities to demonstrate their increased influence, there is more to the Kunduz debacle. The attack has shown the ineptness of former president Hamid Karzai, who was corrupt to the core and was unable to raise strong and competent Afghan forces in his long tenure as the Afghan president.
Analysts point out that the Afghan forces suffer from lack of coordination, ghost soldiers, extreme corruption, besides displaying a lack of responsibility and accountability. It has even been claimed that the Kunduz captured by the Taliban was the result of a compromise between the defenders of the city and the occupying forces.
Unquestionably, the Taliban’s fleeting capture of Kunduz would alarm the Central Asian states besides Russia, which will now be more focused on their eastern and southern borders. But the timing of the attack has shown what it was all about. The incident was used by the pro-Indian Afghan chief executive Abdullah Abdullah to blame Pakistan at the UNGA. His criticism of Pakistan was totally quirky, deplorable and a vivid manifestation of the Indian attitude and approach.
Meanwhile, the affairs of the coalition National Unity Government, led by President Ashraf Ghani, seem jagged while the relations between the coalition parties remain unpleasant and driven by strong power games. The Afghan government lacks the legitimacy that comes through good governance and strong institutions and seems out of touch with the currents swirling through the country.