The situation in Afghanistan today, August 30, 2021

See,

1) Jacques Follorou, “En Afghanistan, les talibans seuls aux commandes; Après le départ des Américains, mardi 31 août, les fondamentalistes islamistes, dont les principaux dirigeants se sont réunis à Kandahar, vont devoir gérer une économie à l’arrêt,” Le Monde, le 30 août 2021 (à 10h05, mis à jour à 15h33);

2) “UN-Sicherheitsrat erhöht mit Resolution Druck auf Taliban,” den 30. August 2021 (21:31 Uhr CEST).

Taliban leaders are gathered in Kandahar for a meeting to define the contours of the new government, and in doing so to sort out ideological and personnel issues related to internal divisions.

Jacques Follorou describes the three main factions within the Taliban as follows:

Cette réunion fondatrice serait aussi, selon ces mêmes agents de l’ONU joints par Le Monde, destinée à arbitrer les tensions qui sont apparues depuis la chute du précédent gouvernement, entre trois courants.

Celui de Kandahar réunirait les partisans d’une ligne dure, voulant limiter au maximum l’ouverture aux autres figures politiques du pays. Dimanche, les nouvelles autorités talibanes sur place, chargées de la culture et de l’information, ont prohibé toute musique et toute présence de femmes présentatrices à la radio comme à la télévision. Cette décision locale n’a, cependant, pas encore été entérinée par les instances nationales.

Le deuxième courant est incarné par le mollah Baradar, cofondateur du mouvement, chef de la commission politique, qui a négocié avec les Américains l’accord de retrait, signé, le 29 février 2020, à Doha, au Qatar. Favorable à une large ouverture – incluant l’ancien président Hamid Karzaï, ainsi que l’ex-chef de l’exécutif, Abdullah Abdullah, voire le fils du commandant Massoud, figure emblématique de la résistance aux talibans dans la vallée du Panchir, tué en 2001 –, le mollah Baradar pourrait alors assumer la fonction de premier ministre. Si d’aventure ce dernier n’obtenait qu’une fonction jugée mineure, cela indiquerait, au regard de son passé, que les « durs » ont pris la main sur le futur du pays.

Le troisième courant, enfin, est représenté par le réseau islamiste Haqqani, implanté dans l’est du pays, à cheval sur la frontière afghano-pakistanaise. Figure du mouvement taliban, Anas Haqqani s’était déplacé à Kaboul, le 18 août, au domicile de M. Abdullah, pour évoquer avec ce dernier, et M. Karzaï, la reprise en main du pays. Son demi-frère, Sirajuddin, chef du réseau familial et actuel numéro deux de la commission militaire du mouvement taliban, est présenté, par le Pentagone, comme le véritable chef militaire du mouvement. « Les Haqqani sont des islamistes et des militaires redoutés, ayant des connexions avec des groupes djihadistes, décrypte un agent de l’ONU, à Kandahar. Mais ils sont aussi devenus des businessmen, et ils veulent que le pays reste ouvert pour continuer leurs affaires. »

Much will depend on the outcome of this meeting of Taliban leaders in Kandahar in the next few days.

The three factions within the Taliban reported by Fallorou are:

1) The Kandahar faction, which is hard-line, and which has just prohibited music and the presence of female presenters on radio and television, in the area they control. These decisions have not been adopted at the national level.

2) A second faction is headed by Mollah Baradar, co-founder of the movement, head of the political commission, and a leader who negotiated the February 29, 2920 withdrawal agreement with the United States. Follorou reports that this faction favors a broad, inclusive government including fomer president Hamid Karzai and former Chief Executive Abdoulah Abdoulah. If this faction predominates, Mollah Baradar could assume the position of prime minister. If he is relegated to a less important role, that will tell us something about the future direction of the Taliban.

3) The third faction is represented by the Islamist Haqqani network, established in the eastern part of the country on horseback along the Afghan-Pakistani border. Anas Haqqani, the public face of the movement, is reorted to have visited Abdoulah Abdoulah at his home in Kabul to discuss the Taliban takeover and future plans with Abdullah and Hamid Karzai. Haqqani’s half-brother, Sirajuddin, is the head of the family network, number two on the military commission and, according to the Pentagon, the real military chief of the Taliban movement.

Stay tuned.

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.

1 Comment on "The situation in Afghanistan today, August 30, 2021"

  1. Michael Mauldin | September 1, 2021 at 12:23 pm | Reply

    Thanks for the update.

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