The Taliban as a Fracturing Organisation?
It is rumored that comprising at least four distinct factions belonging to different tribes and regions both from the Pashtun south and the east of Afghanistan, the Taliban is being challenged from within – by its own internal disunity.
1. Sirajuddin Haqqani is the leader of the Ghilzai tribes who straddle the border between Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. It is this branch of the Taliban – the founding Haqqani faction – that is thought to be the closest to the Pakistani establishment, despite it being the most notorious. Over the past year, the Haqqanis have been responsible for facilitating strategic peace agreements between the TTP and the government of Pakistan. Although once strong and dominant, the recent assassination of Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was reported to be residing in a safehouse belonging to Haqqani, has been exploited by the Kandahari faction to weaken the Haqqani position.
2. The Kandahari, or southern Taliban tribes, are organised around their self-proclaimed spiritual leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada. The Kandaharis were leading negotiations during the Doha talks of 2020 and are therefore well-connected to the Qataris and the rest of the world through their diplomatic office there. Some analysts have argued that because this faction negotiated with the United States and the international community, it could be considered “moderate” compared to the rest of the Taliban and is therefore easier to build relationships with. However, there are flaws with this assessment. First, the faction is under the sway of its leader, who is a highly ideological and hardline figure. Earlier this year, during a select group of the ulema, Akhundzada warned that the Taliban would never change its ways “even if they were hit by a nuclear bomb”, underlining the futility of pressures being placed upon the group to reform. Second, some subgroups of this faction have links with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
3. There is little known about the third most powerful group within the Taliban, which oversees intelligence. While it is connected to both the southern and eastern factions, it has been said to have closer relations with the Haqqanis. Yet to form its own autonomous faction, its members predominantly reside in the two provinces of Ghazni and Wardak – the most ideologically loyal Taliban regions in Afghanistan.
4. The fourth and final faction is the non-Pashtun Talibs, who are quite weak in position and authority by comparison.
While the Taliban has always been characterised by internal rifts, these fissures have become more pronounced since the group regained power. Internal fracturing has become more intense over tensions about the distribution of power and access to economic resources, with the additional ingredients of drug trafficking, crime and illicit mining sharpening rivalries even further still. Since its inception, the Taliban has reportedly extracted 10 per cent tax (ushur) from poppy producers in Afghanistan and has long been engaged in the processing and smuggling of illicit drugs. In the past two decades, the Taliban has also been known to charge merchants, truckers, telecommunications firms and corporations to do business in the areas it maintained control over. Consequently, criminal syndicates and drug cartels formed by the Taliban have resulted in financial rewards for its commanders and leaders.
While Taliban disunity undermines its rule of Afghanistan, the West has overestimated the group’s capabilities. The 2020 Doha agreement provided the opportunity for the Taliban to engage diplomatically with the international community even though it never enjoyed legitimacy in the eyes of the people of Afghanistan. Its illegitimacy has only been intensified by its networks of criminals and terrorists who are associated with suicide bombings indiscriminately targeting civilians. Although the international community believed it was negotiating with one faction of the Taliban, the talks actually legitimised the Islamist group in its entirety – to the deep dismay of the people of Afghanistan.
As the Taliban remains absorbed in its own internal rifts and power dynamics, resistance among the people of Afghanistan is growing and beginning to be coordinated. There are three forms of active resistance. First, Afghanistan’s robust civil society, often led by women, continues to challenge the Taliban’s administration and its policies. Second, numerous armed resistance groups in the country’s northern region, led by the NRF, are fighting for freedom and democracy. Third, the diaspora of Afghanistan is actively involved in or supporting civil-society and armed resistance, empowering people in Afghanistan by raising awareness of the Taliban’s regime around the world and seeking to demonstrate its illegitimacy to policymakers. This combination of external pressures and internal fractures means the Taliban is at greater risk of disintegration than the group would have the world believe.(20230304)
Sar-e-Chowk, the place to take the Afghan pulse
Once upon a time in Kabul, there was only one roundabout, an unrivalled space for commerce and conversation. All roads led to the roundabout and so did the news. During the 16th Century reign of the Mogul Emperor Babur it was known as the "navel of Kabul". Afghans met at this point, from across Kabul and across the country. In the late 19th Century, writes Afghan historian Asif Ahang, "the clever King Amir Abdul Rahman Khan used to check what the people said on the roundabout before executing any decision".
Rumor Intelligence is tricky. “RumInt” can be true or not true, but actually that applies to many other forms of intelligence. Our view is that RumInt should be passively listened too, and logged, because just occasionally it turns out to be true and it turns out that it was just uncorroborated real intelligence. Some of the best bits of intelligence start out in life as a simple rumor. Just because something isn’t yet corroborated doesn’t mean its not worthwhile listening too and considering.
Latest RUMINT in 2022
It is rumored, that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) will not have a legislative branch in future.
Afghanistan’s Supreme Leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, recently issued an order directing the manner of processing of “principal documents”. The order does not actually define principal documents, but it may be inferred that new legislation falls within the ambit of the decree.
Since the fall of the Republic, there has been no parliament, and the interim government appears not to intend to restore the legislative branch (when the Taliban were in power previously, the government also operated without a legislature). Thus, the process is firmly in the hands of the executive branch. While the new procedure is not ideal (for example, there is no consultation with the private sector or opportunity for public comment), the fact that there is a procedure is an improvement, and the publication of principal documents in the Official Gazette means that the laws when enacted will be accessible.
In other developments, a circular was issued in November 2022 by the Supreme Court of Afghanistan directing lower courts on the enforcement of judicial orders issued by the courts under the previous government. Prior to this new circular, lower courts had been ordered not to enforce judgments from the old regime.
The new directive instructs the lower courts that where an order has been issued by a court under the former government, but the order has not yet been enforced, the court should conduct a review of the order and determine whether it is compliant with Islamic law. If it is determined that the order fails, in whole or in part, to be consistent with Islamic principles, then the order may not be enforced. Otherwise, the old orders may be considered valid under the interim government and are enforceable.(20221127)
It is rumored that the US Special Inspector for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) in a recent report identified six factors it said led to the collapse of the former republic government of Afghanistan.
1. The Afghan government failed to realize that the US would “actually” exit from Afghanistan, SIGAR said. According to SIGAR, the Afghan government was fundamentally unprepared to manage the fight against the Taliban as the United States military and its contractors withdrew.
2. The reason for the fall of the western backed government of former President Ashraf Ghani, SIGAR said, was the exclusion of the Afghan government from “US-Taliban talks” that weakened and undermined the Afghan government.
3. The Afghan government's insistence on effectively integrating the Taliban into the Republic also made progress on peace negotiations difficult. This was the third reason, according to SIGAR. In the meantime, the political instability had increased after the highly contested September 2019 US presidential election, which was marred by allegations of fraud. “Exclusion from US-Taliban talks, and the subsequent signing of the February 2020 agreement, were further blows to the credibility of the Afghan government,” SIGAR said.
4. The reason given by SIGAR was the "unwillingness of the Taliban to compromise” who were emboldened by their deal with the US, SIGAR said. “From that point onward, the insurgency increasingly focused on defeating the Afghan government on the battlefield,” the report reads.
5. SIGAR blames former President Ashraf Ghani who “governed through a highly selective, narrow circle of loyalists, destabilizing the government at a critical juncture.”
“The president’s political and social isolation appears to have been a function of both his personality, and his desire to centralize and micromanage policy implementation,” the report said.
6. The final reason was, the Afghan government’s high level of centralization, endemic corruption, and struggle to attain legitimacy were long-term contributors to its eventual collapse. (20221117
latest rumor update 20211220:
It is rumored that figures in the Taliban government are frustrated by the errant behavior of some fighters who have assaulted and intimidated civilians. These frustrations are mostly aired behind closed doors and there is hope that the problems can still be solved. In truth, a solution will have to be found if the government is to ensure that the continued threat of the Islamic State group remains in check. Ever since the 1990s, the Taliban have billed themselves as a force for law and order, and even some of their most ardent enemies would concede that an ability to maintain security in areas under their control is their biggest strength. Any long-term indiscipline therefore has the potential to be hugely damaging.(20211220)
It is rumored, that IS-K has launched daily attacks against the Taliban across Afghanistan, ambushing, bombing and assassinating its operatives, including senior Taliban official Hamdullah Mokhlis, head of Kabul security and commander of the Taliban’s Badri special forces unit. It also continues to conduct mass-casualty attacks, particularly but not exclusively targeting the Hazara Shia minority. These attacks include bombing public and suicide bombings at Shiite mosques in Kunduz and Kandahar, the so-called ‘Taliban heartland’. Dozens of Taliban were killed and wounded in a bombing outside the Eidgah mosque, where a funeral ceremony was being held for the mother of Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid. A complex attack involving several IS-K operatives on a military hospital in Kabul also resulted in scores of casualties. It is rumored that Taliban intelligence officials in Kabul secretly admited that one area of Nangarhar has become a ‘no-go zone’ for them and is ‘one hundred percent’ controlled by IS-K.(20211209)
It is rumored Turkey and Taliban are close to deal on Kabul airport. The terms needed approval by Erdogan: Recognition of Taliban; Qatar, Turkey to run the airport; Turkish private security firm will handle airport and turkish Special forces will protect Turk. (20210828)
Rumint until July 2021, 2020, 2019 and before:
It is rumored that the western countries believe that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai´s ability to tackle corruption is very weak. Inside the western countries administrations, officials are voicing concern that he and his fragile government lacks the basic ability to govern, even as a surge in Taliban offensives threatens to topple the government or plunge the country deeper into civil war.
Weak governance and political institutions, as well as structural economic problems, leave the government ill-equipped to address the present challenges. The Afghan public is increasingly skeptical of the government’s commitment to the rule of law, to address corruption, and to appoint senior-level officials based on merit rather than personal allegiance. This mistrust is exacerbated by the inability of the government to deliver basic services to the population.(20210701)
It is rumored the Taliban could overrun a couple of provinces and put the Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai Administration in a situation where it may be hard for it to take them back.(20210426)
It is rumored, the Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai administration is falling apart. Especially the employees with a US background prepare escape routes from Afghanistan. The wealthy Afghans keep their money and movable assets safe abroad. The corruption and theft of valuable government assets are taking on incredible proportions. The looming unconditional withdrawal of the Americans and NATO by September 11, 2021 has made things clear: Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai will only be the mayor of Kabul after the withdrawal. And his end and the end of his government are also foreseeable. The Emirate of Afghanistan is coming. (20210414)
It is rumored that a letter that special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad carried with him to Kabul dated 28th Feb 2021 has taken Kabul by storm and apparently spelled doom for President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai’s apparent attempt to hang on to power despite an international consensus on the need to create space for Taliban. It is over for Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai. The central point of the letter by the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to President Ghani is a warning to “positively consider this request “ and to realise the urgency for a compromise on an inclusive, acceptable-to-all future roadmap for Afghanistan. The Biden administration considered Ghani both a necessary partner and a roadblock to a peace agreement. This letter sends a strong message to Ghani to play ball or get out of the way. This letter will worsen relations between Ghani and the Biden administration, given that the letter makes clear that the U.S. is prepared to take steps to help put together a new Afghan government, something that Ghani has rejected because it likely wouldn’t include him. (20210308)
There are rumors in Kabul that Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai will have to stepp down in the first half year 2021 because he is under pressure of the USA to do so.
Rumors have said that the possibility of an interim administration is one of the reasons why President Ghani has so far refrained from meeting with Khalilzad.
The second round of talks between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban were set to begin in Doha on January 5. A very serious message raised by Khalilzad about an interim setup, and very quick decisions taking place there---these events indicate that the Americ’s new President Biden sees a solution in an interim setup.
Rahmatullah Nabil, the former head of the Afghan intelligence agency—the National Directorate of Security (NDS), in a Twitter post said that by in the next months Afghanistan will see a new government. By May 2021 the prefixes Republic & Emirate will be replaced by the word Government & the Islamic suffix will remain in place! This means that Afghanistan will soon have an Islamic Government, therefore neither an Islamic Emirate nor an Islamic Republic. (20210106)
It is rumored that Dr. Abdullah Abdullah is preparing to head an Afghan Interim Government in case the USA succeeds to remove Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai from power. Abdullah´s readiness to take over, however, ran contrary to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai’s recent statement in which he rejected the possibility of stepping down from his office in favor of an interim government in the event of a potential peace deal with the Taliban. RAND Corporation and the US peace envoy Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad all call for an interim government as a political settlement to end the conflict. The Afghan government has violated and suspended the constitution multiple times since its formation in 2014, and the October 2018 parliamentary election was a disaster, showcasing that Kabul is unable to conduct transparent and fair elections due to mismanagement, a lack of funds and widespread insecurity across the country. Through an interim government, however, the Taliban can be incorporated into the Afghan political system.
It is rumored that the Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai government is cleaning the house for the Taliban. Ghani has sought in recent months to quietly roll back nearly two decades of increased freedoms by pushing conservative changes to laws governing the family, media, and nongovernmental organizations, moves that, in fact, aren’t too far from agenda items of the archconservative Taliban.
The attempted changes to family law, the NGO law, and media law – the last, only made public and sparking an outcry over censorship and free speech concerns after it was quietly approved by the Cabinet and sent to parliament in June 2020 – illustrate the challenge ahead for Afghan civil society trying to solidify gains as the peace talks with the Taliban approach. Proposed changes to the family law, for example, include immediate forfeiture of maintenance by a husband for his wife if she refuses intercourse – for reasons beyond those permissible under sharia law – or even goes out without his permission. Underage marriage would become possible through a loophole that would require consent of a male relative and court approval.
Afghan journalists reacted noisily when the changes to the media law became public in mid-June 2020, for example, as they accused the government of trying to impose censorship, block freedom of speech, and force journalists to reveal sources to intelligence and government agencies.
Likewise, the draft NGO law that emerged in June 2020 was an updated version of the one approved by the Cabinet in December 2019, which requires registration and sharing detailed financial information with authorities. Amnesty International panned it as a “serious threat to the existence of civil society” groups in Afghanistan, which “imposes unnecessary and disproportionate restrictions ... and would exert undue influence and control over NGOs.”
There are rumors that Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai has a stalling strategy to slow the Afghan Peace Process, perhaps tied to hopes that Washington's Afghanistan policy will shift under a potential Biden White House. Observers have suggested that Ghani is attempting to retain power because it is widely speculated that negotiations could seek a neutral interim government.
t is rumored the Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai Administration is finished. It is just a question of time when the Government will collapse, or forced to give up or accept an Interim Government with the Taliban.
A strong dose of realism is overdue for an Afghan people and international community visibly exhausted by years of conflict and yearning for a political settlement. Efforts to achieve a negotiated peace with the Taliban have for too long survived on wishful thinking. The faintest progress is often applauded as the harbinger of a breakthrough. Reasonable skepticism is frequently brushed aside with comments like “what is there to lose when the only alternative is endless fighting?” Hardline Taliban demands are dismissed as only opening negotiating positions, and their triumphant statements are excused as simply leadership bravado. To keep the peace process on track, the threshold for Taliban violence is never crossed.
As the afghan delegation prepare for the approaching intra-Afghan dialogue in Doha in August 2020, any optimism has to be tempered. Talks are only the first step in what will be at best a long, tortuous process. There is already a willingness to overlook the many significant, largely unreciprocated concessions it has taken to get the Taliban to the table. The Taliban’s refusal to acknowledge the Afghan government as its principal interlocutor is a chrystal clear message now. It also does not bode well that an ill-prepared, splintered delegation of the Islamic Republic is slated to face a focused, unified team of Taliban negotiators. It is rumored that the Emirate of Afghanistan is not only "ante portas" but will be set up again.
It is rumored Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai has lost die election but has nonetheless been officially declared the winner of Afghanistan's presidential elections, nearly five months after the poll took place on September 28 of last year.
The final result was announced by the Afghan Independent Election Commission Chairperson Hawa Alam Nuristani on Tuesday, 18. Feb. 2020. Ghani secured 50.64% of total eligible votes, according to Nuristani.
The results were delayed because of widespread allegations of fraud, which meant that hundreds of thousands of votes had to undergo recounts and an auditing process.
With just over 50 percent of a total votes cast, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai has less than a million votes to his credit in a country of an estimated 34 million. Around 10 million registered to vote in this election.
His top rival Abdullah Abdullah’s team called the decision “illegal.” Hours after the announcement of the final results of the presidential election by the Independent Election Commission, Abdullah Abdullah, the chief executive of Afghanistan, announced the formation of an “inclusive government” by his Stability and Convergence campaign team, declaring his “victory” in the polls. Abdullah said decisions on disputed votes were “illegal,” adding that today’s results were a coup against democracy and that he does not accept them.
Days earlier, Abdullah’s supporters, including General Abdul Rashid Dostum, the first vice president of Afghanistan Days earlier, Abdullah’s supporters, including General Abdul Rashid Dostum, the first vice president of Afghanistan and a key political figure in the northern parts of the country, warned of setting up a parallel government if the commission announced what they said were fraudulent results.(20200218)
It is rumored, that President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai has lost the Presidential Election in 2019 and his authority is eroding from day to day. The election has no winner and the continuation of the National Unity Government (NUG) is a priority now. It will act like an interim Government. The international community and Afghan politicians are pressurizing the palace to respect the 2014 political agreement signed between Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah based on 50-50 political shares in the new "Interim government". This comes as Dr. Abdullah Abdullah is said to introduce high-level government officials including cabinet members and governors in the next few days. Abdullah has recently criticized Ghani for his new appointments which are said to be in the contract to the political agreement they signed back in 2014. Chief Executive Officer, Abdullah Abdullah signed a decree on 2 Feb. 2020 to stop Ghani’s reform agenda for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to the NUG political agreement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs belongs to the Chief Executive office. Abdullah ordered the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers to supervise the implementation of the decree to ensure that solid diplomatic reforms take place. This came as President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai’s administration is under fire for systematic favoritism in high-ranking appointments to Ghani’s own ethnic group (Pashtun). It is rumored that many Afghans with U.S. and Pashtun background who backed Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai are getting nervous because they fear to be sidelined or haunted after a peace deal with the Taliban. Some of them - it is rumored - have prepared escape routes to leave Afghanistan. (20200204)
It is rumored that Kabul has turned into a tiny dystopia only accessible to the corrupt elite whose families live in safety abroad. Most of these people will likely leave themselves, thanks to their dual citizenships, once their lucrative contracts expire. This class of Afghan is entirely out of touch with ordinary Afghans, and President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai has found himself in the extraordinary position of not only becoming irrelevant to ordinary Afghans, but also to those who have brought him to power.(20191205)
It is rumored, that Dr. Abdullah Abdullah has won the Presidential Election 2019. Incumbent President Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai is not prepared to accept his defeat. He now even doesn’t accept biometric voter verification only in an effort to chance the result in his favour by large-scale ballot stuffing that tainted the 2019 election. He even tries to manipulate the Supreme Court to change the election result in his favour.(20191017)
It is rumored the United States are pressing President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai to agree to postpone the Presidential election 28 Sep 2019. The Taliban have denounced the election as a sham and vowed to attack rallies. Ghani is insisting an election he looks set to win should go ahead. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s main challenger Abdullah Abdullah in a election next month has said he is ready to abandon his bid for power for the sake of peace, raising more questions about prospects for an election the Taliban have vowed to block. The United States and the Taliban are trying to seal an agreement under which U.S. forces will withdraw in exchange for a Taliban security guarantee and a promise of power-sharing talks with Ghani’s government. August 2019, another main contender, Hanif Atmar, a former interior minister who also served as Ghani’s national security adviser, suspended his campaign, citing the level of violence in the country. With Atmar out of the race and Abdullah now giving preference to the peace deal instead of elections, it is quite clear that Ghani will have to realign his stance. (20190829)
It is rumored, that Afghan Special Force are on the verge of collapse due to lack of coordination among security sectors, lack of intelligence information, high casualties rates and administrative weakness in the ministry of defense and incapability of the leadership of ministry of defense. The result is a reduction in Special Forces (Commandos) number, capture of military equipment by enemy besides having a negative impact on morale of the military. It is rumored that the number of AWOL Special Forces Soldiers is rising and that Commandos have faced devastating losses in recent months. (20190716)
It is rumored, that an Australian tourist was sexually harassed by Badakhshan's Wakhan District Chief Abdul Maruf Khairkha, following sexual scandals in Afghan presidential palace (Arg). Nek Mohammad Nazari, a spokesman for the governor’s office of Badakhshan province confirmed that they received a complaint letter from the victim 20 days ago the after she arrived in Wakhan district from Tajikistan. The series of government’s sexual scandals have now reached the farthest part of the country while the issue of sexual favors in Arg has not been solved yet. A few weeks ago, a former aide to President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, Habibullah Ahmadzai, revealed sexual favors within the Arg. He had said that some female members of the House of Representatives came to the parliament through sexual bribery. Earlier this week, BBC released a report, in which women complained from high-level officials, including a member of the cabinet as well as one of the close aides to President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, claiming that a cabinet minister and one of the close aides to Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai have asked them for sexual favors in return to doing their legal demands. Contrary to the usual process in the world, the charged individuals continue their works as adviser or minister in the Arg while at least they must be suspended. The crisis of sexual harassment has now reached the farthest parts of the country, which it will make the work harder for the government led by President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, especially when Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai is a candidate of the presidential elections 2019.(20190716
It is rumored that Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai is like a Shakespearean hero with a tragic flaw. Ghani loves his country and desires that it attains the peace and development it deserves. But he is an arrogant man, seeing himself as the sole person who can save Afghanistan. That flaw primarily translates into paternalistic authoritarianism. Ghani is prone to lecturing and micromanaging, playing the role of a “grand ustad” or teacher. Ghani’s arrogant belief that he alone can save Afghanistan also translates into more destructive, albeit non-violent, behaviour. He will go to any lengths to stay in power and keep his rivals at bay. This has been a feature of his presidency from day one. Key indicators in Afghanistan are incredibly worrying. Deaths of Afghan civilians and security forces continue to break record highs – and pro-government forces now surpass the Taliban in killing civilians. But as Rome burns, Ghani remains fixated on the Afghan game of thrones. Ghani’s term as president expires on May 22, 2019. He wants to stay in power up through the elections, which have been rescheduled for September 2019, and then win reelection should the polls take place. In April 2019, the Supreme Court of Afghanistan extended Ghani’s term as president up through the polls. It’s reasonable to assume that the court was following a directive by Ghani himself.
It is rumored that the Afghan government is done. Ashraf Ghani’s political carrier is over. So it is for his staunch supporters. Neither he nor anyone else has an idea what is in peace negotiations for him and his cronies. That’s really the problem, which has not yet been resolved. No amount of cajoling and no amount of requesting is going to change that. It is an incentive structure problem and the U.S., Pakistan and the Taliban have to figure out that incentives for him (Ghani) and the others around him to allow the peace process to go forward smoothly.(20190408)
It is rumored that President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, is increasingly paranoid, isolated and has become a divisive personality within and outside of Afghanistan. The Afghan political elite do not trust him, his former allies has left his side and the region increasingly view him as a puppet and too westernized far from the Afghan realities and distanced from its people.(20190218)
It is rumored that President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai doesn’t want to choose between Presidential elections on Jul 20, 2019 or peace process requiring an interim Government. He prefers not to step down but to further hold office as the President of Afghanistan. A detailed plan for an interim government including the Taliban, reportedly authored for RAND by a onetime US official, Laurel Miller, has been circulated widely in Kabul. Ghani responded with a withering blast: ‘Afghans do not accept an interim government—not today, not tomorrow, not in a hundred years … Whoever comes up with such stupid ideas—a few former officials that I wouldn’t even accept as my students—should think again.’ Will will wait and see! (20190211)
t is rumored that no legal and logical justification had been presented for the unexpected delay oft he Presidential Election 2019. It is also rumored that holding four elections at the same time is beyond the capacity and capability of the IEC. The leadership of the current government should step down after their legal term had expired.
Presidential election, which has been moved from the initial date, 20 April, to 20 July 2019. The election will now involve four votes at the same time: provincial elections, district council elections, Wolesi Jirga election in Ghazni province, and the presidential poll.
The legitimacy of the current government ends after 22 May. Since the constitution does not specify whether the current government can continue after 22 May 2019, – it only stipulates that the government will no longer be legitimate – calls for a grand political national consensus could come up among the political parties and civil society, supported by the international community, to decide on an alternative. This could be: 1) continuation of the government, but with a reduction in the president’s authorities, 2) an interim government, or 3) the president stepping down and, for instance, the chief justice taking over the affairs of the state.(20190123)
It is rumored that eliminating Taliban would not end the war in Afghanistan. It is said that the Taliban delegation who flew to UAE for peace talks using Pak army military planes under the supervision of Pakistan have been long dependent on Pakistan for military, financial, logistical and receiving intelligence support from Pakistan.
Taliban and families on the other hand have been living in Pakistan for a decade which is another reason to stay loyal to Pakistan over Afghanistan for personal and family’s safety.
Musharraf has publicly said that “India should remain out” of Afghanistan, which Pakistan sees as its area of influence. He also warned that even if U.S. forces depart after a negotiated settlement with the Taliban, India and Pakistan would likely move in by supporting rival factions in Afghanistan. Which is why eliminating Taliban may not end the war but rather make it more complicated? (20190104)
Rumors 2018 and earlier:
It is heavily rumored that Zalmay Khalizad left in the trail of his visits points to a scenario that envisions postponing presidential elections slated for April 2019; dissolution of the current elected Afghan government and establishment of an extra-constitutional interim government and a trial-based ceasefire agreement. Meanwhile, the US would devise a military withdrawal plan from Afghanistan and finally, once the Taliban receives some territorial concessions, elections will be held.Territorial concessions would involve granting the Taliban protection inside Afghanistan or even autonomy over a few districts they already control, but this remains a controversial idea.(20181124)
It is rumored that Pakistan’s ‘Name Games’ are giving terror groups and terrorists a pass. Concerns are voiced over the government’s recent decision to let the ban on JuD and FIF lapse and exclude them from the list of outlawed terror groups. Also using differnt names of groups and spellings and incomplete names of Terrorists is undermining Pakistan’s claims to be targeting terror groups and terrorist individuals operating in the country. This means more international pressure as to why Pakistan is not able to crack down and ban organizations and individuals placed on the U.N.’s terror watch list. The FATF team was in Pakistan recently and expressed dissatisfaction over Pakistan’s insufficient measures against terror financing and urged the country to address inadequacies in the supervision of nonprofit and charitable organizations. In June 2018, the FATF placed Pakistan on its gray list for the country’s inadequate measures to curb terror financing and money laundering.(20181101)
It is rumored that over 1,000 Afghan security forces were killed and wounded in August and September 2018. An Afghan governor said in September 2018 that the Taliban are inflicting devastating casualties on Afghan security forces. “The Taliban don’t want peace, because they think they can win the war,” Baghlan Province Governor Abdul Hai Nimati said. “If it goes on like this, they’re going to win.”(20181031)
It is rumored that Pakistan's GHQ via ISI clevery manipulated the Afghan security scenario well before the October 20 elections in Afghanistan. GHQ instructed, guided and supported Taliban and Daesh at the same time. Taliban received a little more assistance. ISI instructed Taliban to go after Daesh to offer Taliban as the better alternative to the USA and their (puppet) Afghan Government to make peace with. Pakistan ordered Taliban also to attack in Helmand, Ghazni and in the North to show the helplessness of Afghan security forces and to sweeten a deal with the USA and the Pakistan remote controlled Taliban. Pakistan again is tricking them all. (20180815)
It is rumored that the Afghan government has lost the initiative and the momentum is now with the Taliban. In every single Taliban attack, government forces withdraw from the battlefield, and the leadership in Kabul is desperately looking for air support from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In addition, Kabul has relied heavily on the elite Special Forces to rescue lost positions, which has already reduced the efficacy of this elite force. In Ghazni we have seen big losses among the Afghan commando forces because the Taliban have been able to adapt to their tactics and overcome their technical superiority.(20180813)
It is rumored, that President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai does not dare to come out of his “expert/elite” comfort zone and try to engage ordinary citizens in the peace process. If Ghani wants his peace policy to enjoy the people’s support, it is vital to take into account different views and arguments including of those who have failed, so far, to penetrate his “fortress of experts” and influence his definition of the Taliban problem. In the present situation the distance between the government and the nation is growing,.The issue is that the peace process is led by a small group of Arg-based, Western-educated political elites, who lack firsthand understanding of the socio-political context of the country. They have a pre-decided solution without having sought to suitably define and build citizens’ consensus around the problem.(2080805)
It is rumored that the Government under President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai is as corrupt as the Government of Ex President Hamid Karzai. Therefore establishing independent anti-corruption organizations in accordance with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption is refused by the President.
Corruption is said to have run rampant through the government’s very own so-called anti-corruption institutions and agencies. The specialized anti-corruption court established by President Ashraf Ghani in May 2016 and the Anti-Corruption Justice Center (ACJC) has shown little ability to function as intended in its goal of combating serious corruption.
Nearly 40 percent of the prosecutors assigned to the Anti-Corruption Justice Center have failed polygraphs. Confronted with those results, Afghanistan’s attorney general displayed a “deep reluctance” to use polygraph information for vetting purposes, the report noted.
The problem of powerful and corrupt actors ignoring warrants is so severe that it has undermined the fundamental legitimacy and authority of the Anti-Corruption Justice Center. All this with the blessing of President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai who needs corruption to grease his incompetent Government and assure the warlords support.(20180802)
It is rumored that Afghan IS or DAESH has been created controlled, directed and supported by a special Pakistan's Intelligence Unit of Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) which has nearly Brigade size (three bataillons each between 600 men). Plans and logistic for IS activities in Afghanistan are worked out by this unit. It is the old game: After Mujaheddin were no more under control, Pakistan created the Taliban and after Pakistan's grip on them crumbled they created IS in Afghanistan to put Kabul unter permanent pressure.(20180610)
It is rumored, that given the slow pace of the Taleban’s actual territorial gains, around one per cent per quarter, the war in Afghanistan could go on for a long time. It depends on which side can hold its breath for longest, the Pakistan controlled insurgents or the US supported Afghan government and its allies. It could also depend on which of them may be prepared to take a bold step to break out of this vicious circle, vicious mainly for the Afghan people and the country’s infrastructure. It is rumored that Pakistan’s military establishment feels it could in long-term outmaneuver the Americans in Afghanistan and establish a Pakistan controlled Government in Kabul.(20180606)
There are rumors coming out claiming that the Trump administration is exploring a range of new options, including “revoking the country’s major non-NATO ally status, permanently cutting off military aid and imposing a visa bars [sic] on Pakistani government officials,” to pressure Pakistan into acting against various militant groups.(20180328)
It is rumored that despite a new U.S. policy of pressuring Pakistan, Islamabad’s Military is still supporting the Afghan Taliban. Military HQ in Rawalpindi believes a weak afghan Government in Kabul is in in their geostrategic favor.
Reason for the uptick in Taliban attacks in Afghanistan and their link to support from Pakistan, is that they have sanctuary in Pakistan and having financial support from actors in the region (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait et al.)
U.S. announced a new policy on Afghanistan and South Asia in August 2017 that involves putting political, financial und economic international pressure on Pakistan over militant safe havens. So far without much short term results.
Pakistan is rumored to be under close intelligence surveillance from January 2018 to June 2018. Should Pakistan continue the support for afghan Taliban, the U.S. will attack Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan. Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service is said providing not only both protection and material support to the Taliban in areas between Quetta and the Afghan border. A special ISI unit initiate, plan and control high profile Taliban attacks to destabilize Afghanistan. ISI even conducts security patrols in facilitating Taliban transit. (20180315)
Rumors 2017 and earlier:
Rumors say U.S. Forces will in 2018 go after the sanctuaries of Taliban in Pakistan by use of drones and other means. Second is to put individuals involved in support of the Haqqani network and the Taliban and others on a list where they can’t do business as usual or travel to the West. Third is to increase economic pressure on Pakistan in terms of bilateral assistance, making more assistance conditional, and have other allies -- Europeans, Japanese -- make their assistance conditional. And even international help -- IMF, World Bank, where the U.S. and the West have considerable influence -- to be conditional. A newly border fence along with Afghanistan's Paktika province border and Angoor Adda in Pakistan's South Waziristan tribal district. Then there is the Indian issue, which will be used smartly. If Pakistan doesn’t change, there will be a greater role for archrival India, a greater burden-sharing in Afghanistan. The U.S. makes a plan as to when from this diplomatic engagement it shifts to a coercive approach where for six months, then try this and if it doesn’t work then the U.S. shift to the other.(20171221)
It is rumored the Afghan Special Security Forces conducted 2,628 operations, but only 453 of these missions were conducted independently, and 456 were airstrikes, according to insiders. That means Afghan forces were only able to carry out 17 percent of their missions independently.
From June 1 to Nov. 24, U.S. troops assigned to Special Operations Joint Task Force-Afghanistan enabled or advised 2,175 ground operations and 261 kinetic strikes in support of the Afghan Special Security Forces.(20171217)
It is rumored that Pakistan Intelligence Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) has decided to continue the support for the Taliban and Daesh till the end of 2018. ISI with the backing of GHQ in Rawalpindi hopes to bring the NUG to collapse before the 2018 elections in Afghanistan.
No wonder that the Pentagon said certain militant and terror groups including the Taliban and Haqqani network still have freedom of action inside the Pakistani soil. Until now no fundamental changes were seen in the way Pakistan deals with terrorist safe-havens in its territory.
Therefore the Department of Defense will be a part of a whole-of-government, regional strategy to isolate the Taliban from sources of Pakistani support and to mitigate any malign influence from Pakistans actors.
Pakistan was an ally of convenience during the Cold War, but the country’s main objective to compete with India has never been an American objective. Therefore, American and Pakistani interests in the region don’t really coincide.
The problem is that the Pakistani military also sustains the very Taliban who it tells the Americans it will help fight. They are the arsonist and also want to be part of the fire brigade.(20171216)
Only rumor? Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) noted 56.8 percent of the country’s 407 districts are under government control or influence as of August, 2017. The assessment shows a 15 percent decrease in territory held by Kabul in 2015 when SIGAR began analyzing district control data. As of August 2017, there were 54 districts [13.3 percent] under insurgent control  or influence , an increase of nine districts over the last six months. 11.4 percent of the country’s population, or 3.7 million Afghans, now live in districts under insurgent control or influence. That’s a 700,000-person increase over the last six months. 30 percent or 122 Afghan districts are contested, and the statistic remained mostly unchanged.(20170102)
It is rumored that the ANDSF are at a critical point in the fight against the insurgency. The plan to modify the force structure and develop into a more agile and lethal force is underway, but 2017 is a year of setting conditions to build momentum. Can ANDSF weather the storm from the insurgency and deny the Taliban strategic victories on the battlefield, fight ISIS-K, grow and train the ASSF, conduct planning to realign forces within the MoD and MoI, and posture itself to become a more offensive force in 2018 ? More than 2,500 people were killed and wounded in 169 attacks across Afghanistan in October 2017, indicating a 39 percent increase in casualties compared to September 2017.
There are rumors that the „educated youth brain drain“ in Afghanistan is speeding up. Insecurities in many parts of the country have also made many youth leave their country for foreign and neighboring countries. A number of youth who have completed their higher education are in very bad situation in the country . They are now facing lack of opportunities to find employment, an issue which can lead Afghan youth to various life challenges. The main reasons causing deviation of Afghan youth today is inattention of the government to them. It is rumored that a large number of graduated and literate youth are part of drug-addicts and the number is increasing day by day.
When a female young pays for her education for years, but cannot find a job after graduation, it is rumored, that she might choose absurd ways in order to get married. Moreover, youth can be smoothly deceived by propagandas of terrorist and extremist groups and join such groups due to employment and un-implementation of justice in government. This turbulent situation and inattention of the government can pave the way to enemies of Afghanistan to recruit Afghan youth suffering from unemployment as youth might go to anywhere to maintain life expenses. Besides, all know that unemployment of youth can increase graph of criminal crimes in the country. No youth no future.(20170531)
No rumor but fact: ANDSF lost nearly 7,000 personnel while battling the Taliban 2016. About 6,785 Afghan soldiers and police personnel were killed while another 11,777 were wounded in the first 11 months of 2016. Chief Afghan presidential advisor Homayun Qayoumi has acknowledged unprecedented losses insurgents inflicted last year (2016) in Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, or ANDSF.
But two key rumors rear the heads — a tottering government of Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai beset by numerous political problems and secondly, a renewed threat by Taliban which has found fresh oxygen from apparent political endorsement by Pakistan.
It is also rumored Ghani’s government is in deep trouble and there is talk in Kabul of a “jirga” (tribal council meeting) that could look for a political alternative, though destabilising the dispensation in the current precarious scenario could be a recipe for disaster.
What is of perhaps greater concern is the rumor of a new apparent re-alignment of powers in the region which would adversely impact India and Afghanistan, while giving an upper hand to the Taliban and their sponsors in Pakistan. While the US has been absorbed in domestic politics, Russia, China, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan have made common cause by raising the spectre of Daesh/IS in Afghanistan, trying to create an opening to begin political negotiations with the Taliban as a “friendly force” to keep out Daesh.
It’s a return to the ‘good-terrorists-bad-terrorists’ narrative, so skillfully played by Pakistan in the region. The Daesh in Afghanistan, like the Taliban, have their roots in Pakistan. And Pakistan is an obstacle before establishing a strong central government in Afghanistan: Pakistan is able to cut the U.S. ground and air connection ways to Afghanistan, the ways which play vital role to US forces presence in the country.(20170306)
RUMINT 2016 and earlier:
It is rumored that the Taliban are on the rise. Given the recent uptick in insurgent attacks on the Afghan capital Kabul and with the number of districts controlled or contested by the Taliban on the rise, the answer is self-evident: absolutely. Indeed, the situation in Kunduz leading up to the fall of the provincial capital in many ways mirrors the present state of the country as a whole. As in Kunduz circa 2015, ANSF retain control over major urban centers and key infrastructure, but struggle to pacify rural areas where support for the Taliban remains strong. Local militias and police presently—and in many cases tenuously and corruptly—secure many of those areas, leaving them vulnerable to the insurgency. Meanwhile, political uncertainty and instability are pervasive, and the rise of the Islamic State has once again rendered Afghanistan a strategic backburner to Iraq (and, of course, to Syria). Many warning signs, in other words, are already in place.(20161010)
Abdullah's camp out of the government?
It is rumored that key allies of Afghanistan's chief executive are threatening to withdraw their support for the government unless the country's president meets their camp's key demands.
They are seeking sweeping reforms and want Ghani to stop "micro-managing" the government and "consolidating personal power.“ They say Ghani is marginalizing Abdullah in the decision-making process.
Abdullah said late on August 11, 2016 that Ghani did not deserve to govern as he had failed to work collaboratively or to enact electoral reforms. "The government is paralyzed and ministers do not have the chance to speak," Abdullah said in televised remarks. "[Ghani] provides a one-hour lecture but he should listen to the ministers for 15 minutes. If someone is not patient and does not have tolerance, he does not deserve the presidency."
Fresh questions are coming up about the stability of the coalition formed in 2014 after both Ghani and Abdullah claimed victory in a presidential election. Ghani is said to be arrogant, does not have tolerance and is out of touch with the deteriorating situation in the country. Dr Abdullah accused Dr Ghani of making decisions unilaterally and of failing to consult him on appointments. Abdullah insisted that “if someone does not have the patience for discussion, then he is not fit for the presidency, either.’’ Abdullah is known among his colleagues as someone who believes in teamwork and has a lot of patience to listen and engage in critical thinking, whilst Ghani is known to have little patience for deliberations and given his background as an expressive lecturer, acts more professorial than politician.
This comes at a particularly sensitive time, as the government has yet to officially confirm Abdullah's position past a September 2016 deadline that had been set for doing so, or to clear up the problems that plagued the last election.
The growing political crisis within the Afghan National Unity Government is compounding the ongoing security and economic crises in the country. President Ashraf Ghani sees himself as a saviour destined and determined to restore the Ghilzai Pashtuns’ lost political mastery against the Durrani Pashtuns and non-Pashtuns. Ghani’s strategy has been sidelining his electoral rival Abdullah Abdullah, favouring Ghilzai Pashtuns in political life by using the means of patronage and charm-offensive of the West.
Taliban insurgents have also made considerable gains in recent month in different parts of the country. Government forces have suffered heavy casualties since taking over full responsibility for security after most foreign troops withdrew at the end of 2014.
Was U.S. National Intelligence Director James Clapper telling rumors to a Senate committee Tuesday, Feb. 02, 2016, when he said the Kabul government faces persistent hurdles to political stability, including eroding political cohesion, assertions of authority by local powerbrokers, financial shortfalls, and countrywide, sustained attacks by the Taliban. And that the Afghan government will confront larger and more divisive issues later in 2016, including the implementation of election reforms and long-delayed parliamentary elections. Clapper told the Senate committee he thinks the Taliban position has consistently been not to negotiate. “The pre-condition they always describe is the removal of foreign forces (from Afghanistan) and I do not see them changing that position,” he said.
Clapper added “We assess that fighting in 2016 will be more intense than 2015, continuing a decade-long trend of deteriorating security that will compound these challenges.“ And: “Kabul will be unable to effectively address its dire economic situation or begin to curb its dependence on foreign aid until it first contains the insurgency, which is steadily chipping away at Afghanistan’s security,” he said.(20160209)
Only rumors? Afghanistan’s Government is imploding slowly and is perhaps on the verge of collapse. It is rumored that Afghan Interior Minister Noor-ul-Haq Olomi has offered his resignation to President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai after mounting criticism of the worsening security situation over recent months. The resignation offer, which had not yet been accepted, deals a further blow to Ghani's struggling government, which is without a permanent defence minister and which recently lost the head of its intelligence service just as the Taliban has stepped up its insurgency. It is also rumored that Rashid Abdul Dostum is considering to resign. It also highlights the deep fractures in the national unity government which gave Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, the two rival candidates in the disputed election of 2014, a share in power. According to the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the Islamist insurgents now control more territory than at any time since 2001, when the Taliban was driven from power by U.S.-led forces in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York. At the same time, the government has been hobbled by political infighting. It is rumored that the Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai Administration is cleverly manipulating Afghan media not to present the bleak and negative development in Afghanistan.(20160206) And Kabul city has been without power for 13 days - almost two weeks that Afghan security forces have been trying to push back Taliban militants from the area where they blew up a power pylon. Officials from Da Breshna Sherkat (DABS) said that they do not know when they will be able to rebuild the pylon.(20160208) Conflicts have intensified after the establishment of the National Unity Government (NUG) and the next fighting season is already being deemed a game changer for the survival of Afghanistan.
Rumint 2015 and earlier:
It is rumored that Pakis