|History and Biodata
Afghan government's critics including some former government officials announced a new alliance named "Mehwar Mardom Afghanistan" Mehwar-e Mardom-e Afghanistan Mehrwar-e-Mardum-e-Afghanistan which means "Axis of Afghanistan People" here, local media reported. The group has been seen from the outset as pro-Karzai. He, meanwhile, seems to have intensified his attempts (once again) to stage a comeback in the political arena.
Several officials of the former government of Hamid Karzai including presidential advisor on national security Rangin Dadfar Spanta and former spy chief Rahmatullah Nabil are the leading members of the newly formed opposition camp. Rahmatullah Nabil, who acts as the unofficial leader of the group, turned into a vocal critic of the NUG after he resigned from his position as Director of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) on 10 December 2015 over differences with President Ghani vis-à-vis Pakistan. Ajmal Baluchzada, a former civil society activist is the head of Mehwar’s secretariat.
Lashing at government policies in its first meeting, a leading member of the newly formed alliance Spanta said: "Due to wrong foreign policy of the government, the world anti-terrorism front in Afghanistan has been scattered," the daily Afghanistan Times reported on Monday.
The Afghanistan-e-Ma daily covered the remarks of former spy agency's chief Rahmatullah Nabil and quoted him as saying: "We don't want to overthrow the government but want reforms."
Nabil also called upon the government to take steps to address all political, economic and social issues to find amicable solutions to all the problems by bringing reforms in all fields including security and defend organizations.
Another critic of government, Governor Atta Mohammad Noor, in a speech among his supporters on Sunday, repeated his demand for bringing reforms and warned, "Why should we remain silent when a certain circle crushes us?“ (20170717)
Nabil tsaid on 14 September 2017 there were around 75 founding members who, as a stopgap measure, “constitute the leadership council… until the convening of the first general assembly of Mehwar,” as the group’s constitution sets out. This means that it is still open to new entries. There are conflicting reports, however, about who exactly is on this body, including from within Mehwar itself. Two senior leaders told AAN that they were still developing a list of the members. In the absence of such a list, Mehwar officials continue to contradict each other when it comes to who are is leading the group.(20170914)
The group has drawn a boundary between itself, as opposition, and the government – in contrast to most of the other existing political groups that insist that they are not in opposition, but just critical of some aspects of the government’s policies. This includes the Council for Protection and Stability of Afghanistan, established under the leadership of Abdul Rabb Rasul Sayyaf in late 2015. Interestingly, two Mehwar leaders – Wardak and Rasul – were previously listed as members of this council.
Karzai’s ambitions, his unstinting condemnation of the US and his rejection of elections as a way out of what is characterises as “the current crises of legitimacy with the parliament and the NUG alike” all seem to have made Mehwar reluctant to be seen to be associated with him. Karzai’s volatile behaviour in dealing with the international community could become “the group’s Achilles heal,” given that Mahwar wants to be seen as a new political start-up.
A senior Mehwar member, who did want to be quoted by name, hinted that Karzai’s personal ambitions were a problem for the organisation, “I personally think that he [Karzai] wants something like: people saying in a jirga, ‘Mr President, please step in. The country is in crisis.’” Nabil, however, spoke dismissively of the possible jirga, indirectly putting down any possible hope Karzai might harbour of leverage it for political gain. “I believe that the jirga is just a tool,” he said. “What will the outcome be? Is it just to [re-]distribute the [government] positions?”
Mehwar Mardom Afghanistan integrated into a new group: Shura-ye Tafahum-e Jiryanha-ye Siyasi Afghanistan (Understanding Council of Political Currents of Afghanistan) which includes Mehwar-e Mardom, the Coalition for Salvation of Afghanistan (the Ankara group), Sayyaf’s Council for Protection and Stability, Ahadi’s New National Front; former interior minister Nur ul-Haq Ulomi’s Mutahed Milli (National United) Party, the Loy Kandahar Unity and Coordination Movement, the Eastern Provinces Coordination Council, Jombesh-e Guzar (the Transition Movement, a Tajik nationalist grouping which announced its existence on 11 May 2017 and the Uprising for Change; and the Commission for Coordination of Political and Civil Organisations.
Currently it looks as if Karzai, on his own, will not be able to muster enough political support by Mehwar Mardon and other political groups to achieve what appears to be his objective – a political comeback through a loya jirga. Many constitutional hurdles would anyway still stand in his way to return to the presidency through elections.(20171016)
At least four other former ministers from the Karzai era – Rangin Dadfar Spanta (former foreign affairs minister, now head of Mehwar’s political committee), Abdul Rahim Wardak (Defence), Daud Shah Saba (Mines), Karim Brahwi (Borders and Tribal Affairs, also a former governor of Nimroz), and a former deputy minister, Mirza Muhammad Yarmand (Interior);
At least two other former governors, Amer Muhammad Akhundzada (also Nimruz) and Tamim Nuristani (Nuristan)
MPs, including Shakiba Hashemi (Kandahar), Saleh Muhammad Saljuki (Herat) and Jafar Mahdawi (Kabul)
Civil society activists and prominent individuals, including Daud Naji, former journalist and currently senior member of the Enlightening Movement, Azarakhsh Hafezi, head of international relations of Afghanistan‘s Chamber of Commerce and Industry and board member of the country’s International Chamber of Commerce, Metra Hemmat, another civil society activist, and Obaidullah Alekozai, head of the Ulema Council of Afghanistan’s eastern zone.
Zalmai Rasul, another foreign minister under Karzai and a 2014 presidential candidate; Spanta’s confidant, Daud Muradian, who runs the Kabul-based policy think tank Afghanistan Institute for Strategic Studies; and Shiwayi Sharaq, a member of the Uprising for Change Movement . Kandahar police chief and strongman General Abdul Razeq and former deputy national security adviser Ibrahim Spinzada (better known as Engineer Ibrahim) who was one of the most influential people in the Karzai administration.
Spanta is said to be no longer a key member of the group due to his continued attachment to Karzai and that he had recently been replaced by Hamed Saburi as head of the organisation’s political committee.