|History and Biodata
Names linked with Council for Protection and Stability in Afghanistan APSC Shura-ye Herasat wa Sobat-e Afghanistan (launched 20151218):
One of its leaders: Abdul Rabb Sayyaf (20160427)
Council spokesman: Massoud Trishtwal Massud Tarshtwal, (Director general of private higher-education institutes at the Ministry of Higher Education MoHE, 20130628, 20140127, University Lecturer 20150214) (20160111, 20160529)
Spokesman for the council: Ajmal (20160111)
Members of CPSA:
Muhammad Umar Daudzai (20160529)
Yunus Qanuni (20160529)
Background with more names:
A group of Afghan warlords and policymakers have set up the country's first opposition party in 14 years in a bid to pressure the government to deliver on its economic and security promises. The Council for Protection and Stability in Afghanistan (APSC), many of whose members are close to former president Hamid Karzai, launched a new political bloc that aims to push Ghani Ahmadzai to meet commitments to hold parliamentary elections next year (2016) as well as a Loya Jirga, or grand assembly, on constitutional reform.
Though the group, which will not function as a formal parliamentary opposition party, says it wants to encourage reform and has no intention of trying to bring down the government. But it could serve as a focus for discontent with Ghani's National Unity Government, which has struggled to implement all its reform pledges and has come under growing pressure as the Taliban insurgency has spread following the withdrawal of foreign troops last year.
Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayaf, a veteran of the fight against the Soviets in the 1980s who later joined the Northern Alliance movement fighting the Taliban, said the government had to honour its pledge to hold the Loya Jirga next year (2016). "The government must call the Loya Jirga on time and if it doesn't happen, the people will look for alternatives," he said at a gathering in Kabul to launch the new group. The group also intends to pressure Ghani's government not to pursue peace talks involving Pakistan, which many in Afghanistan accuse of sponsoring the Taliban.
"Mr. President, don't take your begging bowl to Islamabad and beg for peace because we have tried in the past and it didn't work," said former interior minister Umer Daudzai.
Under the power-sharing agreement reached after last year’s (2015) inconclusive elections, a Loya Jirga, bringing together representatives from all over Afghanistan, must be held next year to decide on constitutional changes that would allow the creation of the post of prime minister. Parliamentary elections must also be held by the middle of next year (2016) but there has been widespread suspicion that Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah may not honour the commitment and instead seek to continue their power-sharing agreement.
"If they think that the alternative to a Loya Jirga or election is consent between two individuals and extension of the contract, it will be wrong, illegal, a huge mistake and contrary to the will and expectation of the people," said Younus Qanooni, first vice president under former President Hamid Karzai. (20151218)
Political analysts say the new party would not win support from women or youth, as many of its members have reputations for extreme religious views and have been accused of human rights abuses. They raise reform slogans today but will achieve nothing. Many of these figures were in the last government and did nothing.(20151218)
The council, formed by former Jihadi leaders and senior government officials, made the announcement on the heels of Afghanistan and Pakistan's decision to resume talks with the group. According to the council's spokesman, Sayed Eshaq Gilani, a meeting will be convened in Kabul to plan a national consensus on the prospect of peace.
On Jan 04, 2016, the council formally inaugurated its office in Kabul – from where it will conduct its political activities. The council has said it will also recommend a number of proposals to the government on the issue of peace talks. According to council members, they will also hold talks with the Taliban soon, but an exact date and venue for the talks was not announced.
The peace council has mapped out a detailed plan for peace. They have also explained the reasons that undermined the peace process over the past 14 years," council spokesman Sayed Eshaq Gilani said.
The council is determined to act in harmony over the upcoming elections, because past experiences show that one-sided actions do not work," Gilani said.
The High Council of Jihadi and National Parties was established on 29 August 2015 and consists of Jihadi figures such as former chairman of the Senate and leader of the Jebh-eye Nejat-e Melli Sebghatullah Mojadeddi, former vice-president and leader of Hezb-e Wahdat-e Islami Mohammad Karim Khalili, former vice president and special representative of the president for reform and good governance Ahmad Zia Massud, leader of Mahaz-e Melli Pir Sayed Ahmed Gailani, head of Hezb-e Harakat-e Islami Sayed Hussein Anwari, and senior member of Hezb-e Islami Qutbuddin Hilal. In fact, it is comprised of members that had put their weight behind President Ghani in the presidential elections.
More More Background:
The Council for Protection and Stability of Afghanistan (CPSA) is mostly made up of former cabinet members in the Karzai government and supporters of Dr Abdullah’s bid to be elected as president. Like Mujaddedi, Sayyaf at the inauguration of the CPSA said they had been driven to form the council by the current situation of the country. He demanded that a Constitutional Loya Jirga be convened, the electoral law reformed, parliamentary and district council elections held as scheduled, and reforms in the security and economic sectors made.
Sayyaf and Jamiat-e Islami stalwart, Yunus Qanuni, former vice-president and fellow member of the CPSA, stressed the need to implement the political agreement of the NUG in full, without spelling out how they would respond if this did not happen. Instead, Qanuni elaborated the council’s plans for the coming four years: active participation in the upcoming parliamentary and district council elections and the introduction of a candidate for the presidential elections of 2019.
Although the demands are more concrete, as with Mujaddedi’s CJNP, there seems to be little threat of a true opposition to the government here either. Many members of CPSA hold government positions, have close relations to the government or have factional comrades that do so. CPSA member Abdul Hadi Arghanidwal, for example, is leader of Hezb-e Islami Afghanistan; his deputy, Khan Muhammad, is first deputy to chief executive Dr Abdullah.
Other prominent members of CPSA include many former ministers: Muhammad Umer Daudzai and Bismillah Khan Muhammadi (both interior), Abdul Rahim Wardak (defence), Zalmai Rasul (foreign affairs), Wahid Shahrani (mines), Ismael Khan (energy and water) Sadiq Mudaber (former director of the office of administrative affairs) and Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi and Fazl Hadi Muslimyar, speakers of, respectively, the lower and upper houses of the parliament. Most of these men were part of the Karzai government and were backers of Abdullah in the 2014 elections; they can be expected to support at least the chief executive’s wing of the NUG.
The close affiliation with Abdullah of many of its members might, in part, explain why the council took such a mild position during the recent public rift between Abdullah and Ghani in 11 August 2016. Abdullah publicly criticised the president’s unilateralism in appointments as well as his disinclination to meet Abdullah one-on-one to discuss “fundamental issues.” President Ghani hit back, implicitly accusing the rival camp of blocking government reforms. While this provided opposition groups with an opportunity to weigh in and challenge the NUG as a whole, Sayyaf’s council spokesman Massud Tarashtwal only said, “We believe Afghanistan is greater and more important than both the president and the chief executive (…) [we want the government] not to keep the nation in frustration anymore.” The comment seemed to signal that the CPSA did not want to put the NUG under even more pressure by subjecting it to targeted criticism.(20161025)