Mujahidin Attempts to Govern, 1992-95

Mujahidin Attempts to Govern, 1992-95

Mujaddidi had little chance to organize a government during his two months asinterim president. Hekmatyar was an immediate threat: Mujaddidi was nearlykilled when his plane was hit by a Hezb rocket. The cumbersome LeadershipCouncil assured meddling by the parties, and the government's very uncertainsecurity depended on a motley mix of army units taken over from Najib'sgovernment, Mausood's forces, and elements of Dostam's militia. Attempting tofind maneuvering room, Mujaddidi favored Dostam as a regional power whom hemight balance against Massoud, who had taken charge of the defense ministry. ThePresident raised Dostam's rank from militia chief to senior army general.

Mujaddidi attempted to extend his short term, but lacked the politicalleverage to offset the military weakness of his party. His resentment towardRabbani, his successor, would later add to the rivalries between mujahidinpolitics.

Rabbani and Massoud attempted to create a national army by recruitment ofmujahidin rank and file primarily to gain government control over Kabul itself.It had been divided into separate armed camps of mujahidin who settled amongtheir own ethnic groups clustered in separate neighborhoods. These efforts wereinterrupted by Hekmatyar's first major rocket attack on the city in August,1992. His forces were pushed back jointly by Massoud and Dostam. Under Pakistanipressure Rabbani agreed to a cease-fire which brought general peace to the cityfor more than three months. Massoud attempted to recruit leaders from otherparties, including the Shias, for senior military positions. Mazari'sHezb-i-Wahdat party was assigned two cabinet positions.

With Hekmatyar apparently deflated, Rabbani's government concentrated onpreparing for a national shura which was to draft a constitution and choose aninterim government for the next eighteen months. The accord reached in Peshawarin April called for elections at the end of the second interim period. TheLeadership council gave Rabbani an extension until December to complete thedrafting. His proposal for the next interim period was ambitious. He called fora Shura-yi-Ahl-i Hal-u-'Aqd (Council of Resolution and Settlement). Acomprehensive effort was made to convene a large assembly representing sentimentin every district in the country. Some 1,400 representatives were brought toKabul in mid-December where they overwhelmingly (916 to 59 with 366 abstentions)voted to elect Rabbani to a full two-year term, not the eighteen months mandatedby the Peshawar accords.

The backlash from this decision reshuffled alignments and took the IslamicRepublic's politics in an uncharted direction. Among the major parties onlyJamiat (from which Rabbani formally resigned to assume the new presidency),Muhammad Nabi's Harakat, and Sayyaf's Ittehad accepted the election. Gailani andMujaddidi (vexed already by the extension of Rabbani's term) joined Khalis,Hekmatyar, Mazari, and Dostam to oppose it on grounds that the election had beenrigged and was not representative of the country. Rabbani had attempted togarner a popular mandate and instead had united his rivals, greatlystrengthening Hekmatyar's position.

Rabbani was immediately thrown on the defensive, politically and militarily.Alienated by government attempts to get control of the city, the Shia Wahdat hadattacked the government in western Kabul before the council met and wastemporarily supported by Dostam's units on the other side of the city. Theseassaults were quickly repulsed, but immediately after Rabbani's electionHekmatyar attacked with Wahdat support. The city was again massively rocketeduntil mid-February. Only three foreign embassies remained open in the capital:Italy's, India's, and China's. For the government there was one compensation:Sayyaf, the most consistent ideologue of the party leaders, maintained hisalliance with the government in order to pursue his sectarian struggle with theShias

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