News from the Communist Party of Afghanistan
Shoddy manoeuvres to form government
For the proposed post-Taliban 'broad-based' government, the US and Pakistan have engaged an assortment of ex-royalists, spiritual leaders, mujahideen commanders, fundamentalists and the odd nationalist. But the Afghan communists, who ruled Kabul from 1978 to 1992, and who are probably the only ones with any real administrative experience, have been overlooked. "No one asks us, no one talks to us, and they probably won't invite us to the Loya Jirga (the traditional national council)", says a former minister in the government of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), who wished not to be named for fear of reprisals by Pakistan's Intelligence Service (ISI). That fear is not misplaced, considering how the Taliban tortured, castrated, shot and hanged former President Najibullah after they took Kabul in 1996. "Since September 11, we have not been allowed to move about freely, our houses have become jails", says the ex-minister, who like other communists, is a member of the Watan Party. There are about 150,000 former PDPA members in Peshawar. "The world does not like what we say, particularly about the dangers of fundamentalism," he says. "Since most Muslims are emotional, they go to these Islamic parties, leaving progressives and democrats helpless. But we are the ones who can take care of the situation while putting the country in step with globalisation". The Taliban know only how to wage war, but not how to take care of Afghanistan. "We need reconstruction, developmental work, dams, electricity "The Taliban and the Northern Alliance are just two sides of the same coin. Both are religious groups". For him, the root of the problem is not the Taliban, but the religious fundamentalism in Pakistan, particularly in Punjab. "In 1993, there were 3,000 religious schools in Pakistan, and now there are 14,000 such schools. Eight hundred thousand Talibs are enrolled, getting ideological and other training, funded by Arab individuals such as Osama bin Laden", he says. "When this is the state of affairs, who will administer Kabul? How will they administer it? They will face a continuous onslaught of new Taliban". According to the ex-minister, all of this is a creation of the Pakistan Intelligence Service. "If the ISI wants, then not a single mullah will be left in Afghanistan." He supports the plan to bring the former king back and says that despite the inherent difficulties, the Loya Jirga is the best solution to move forward.
* * *The Hindustan Times