The Islamabad and Jalalabad Accords, March-April 1993

The Islamabad and Jalalabad Accords, March-April 1993

Worried over the prospect that the continuing turmoil might embroilthemselves in the Afghan conflict, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran put pressureon the mujahidin leaders to find a political solution. In Islamabad on March 7,1993 they reached yet another agreement. Rabbani was to continue as presidentuntil June, 1994; Hekmatyar was to resume the prime ministership, the Leadershipcouncil was to be terminated--as Rabbani had attempted to do in December--andall parties were again to be represented in the cabinet. All three neighborsendorsed the agreement as did the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Toreinforce their new commitment the Afghan leaders visited Mecca and the threeneighboring capitals.

Two days afterwards the Wahdat recommenced rocketing government areas.Disputes over selection of the cabinet and an attack on Rabbani when heattempted to meet Hekmatyar in a Kabul suburb negated the agreement.

Hekmatyar now demanded the removal of Massoud from the government and thesetting up of commissions representing all parties in the ministries of Defense,Interior and Foreign Affairs. Rabbani insisted on having the right to vetoHekmatyar's choices for the cabinet. Hekmatyar launched a major attack on April24, which continued until mid-May. The mujahidin council governing Jalalabadthen hosted a three-week conference in which leaders of all parties wereconfined within the conference building with much public pressure to reach anagreement.

On May 18, 1993, the previous agreement was essentially re-instated.Additional refinements authorized Hekmatyar to chair a commission governing theInterior ministry, with two commissioners appointed from every province. Rabbaniwas to chair Defense with a similarly unwieldy commission. This charade was toensure that Massoud's authority would be swamped and he formally resigned,apparently leaving government for a short period. A new high council of partymembers and notables also was reinstated, presumably to oversee Rabbani.

Rabbani had been politically outflanked. For the first time his forcessuffered significant setbacks in the Darulaman and adjacent southeasternsections of Kabul. Wahdat induced defections from the pro-government Shias ledby Sheikh Asif Muhseni and there were further defections from former DRA units.Rabbani appeared cornered. At this point, the momentum appeared to shift again.In April, Massoud's forces had consolidated control of the highly strategicShomali region north of Kabul. Rabbani's powerful regional commander, IsmailKhan, extended his authority from Herat to include much of Helmand Province inthe south by reaching alliances with Durrani affiliated commanders. Thisstrategy enabled him to drive out forces allied with Hekmatyar.

Meanwhile Hekmatyar demonstrated his well-known caution by refusing to enterKabul. He preferred the command center he had created at Charasyab. Arrangements, but many were missing and refused to go to Charasyab to conduct governmentbusiness.

Throughout the rest of 1993 fighting near Kabul was reduced to occasionalrocketing, except for heavy fighting between Sayyaf and Mazari's Wahdat over theproposals for applying the Sharia in the proposed constitution. Sayyaf was chairof the drafting commission. Meanwhile there was much political maneuvering.Dostam visited Kabul in July, allegedly impressed by the defense the governmenthad mounted. There were rumors his impressive military establishment atMazar-i-Sharif was running out of funds and he had fallen out with his majorally, Sayyid Mansor of the Kayan (Ismaili) militia, who controlled much ofstrategic Baghlan Province. Dostam saw Massoud and he also met Hekmatyar. InAugust Massoud, himself, extended a wary hand to Hekmatyar.

These intrigues ended abruptly with 1993. In the new year, Hekmatyar andDostam mounted their joint assault on Kabul and also on Massoud's position inthe northeast. The government's defenses held through five months of fightingand then counterattacked in June. Rabbani hung on to his shrinking legitimacy aspresident, and a quest for a political solution began in earnest.

Country Studies main page | Afghanistan Country Studies main page