|Date of birth
|Baghlan Province influential family
|History and Biodata
The powerful Andarabi faction, traditionally closely allied to Fahim, has in fact split into a myriad of small but heavily armed groups. Some of them still linger behind the biggest strongman, Mustafa Andarabi, while others may feel attracted by the increasing power of Muhammad Atta, on the border of whose sphere of influence Baghlan rests. The majority of the petty commanders from Andarab and Khinjan however, seem to have reverted to internecine fighting and highway robbery, putting up check-points to stop travellers and tax nomads’ livestock and fighting each other in order to expand their territorial control. The most disturbing feature about these new “post-democracy” warlords is their reported young age, in some cases less than twenty years old. Andarab is, after all, a poor and under-developed mountain area and being on the winning side in 2001 did not necessarily change the economic conditions of more than a few of the most prominent commanders’ families. This has resulted in the local strongmen’s fight for resources and their readiness to assume a quasi-illegal stance towards the government, from which they do not expect advantages or fear retribution.
Paralleling the destabilization taking place in the northern districts and posing a real threat to the Salang Pass, the major road connection between the North and the South of the country. Local authorities have warned that most of Baghlan districts could fall in the hands of the Taliban who are said to operate freely even in the suburbs of the provincial capital. It is certain that most of the districts are beyond the government’s grip, they are not necessarily under Taliban control. However, Taliban activities are expected to increase unless there is a speedy major build-up of security forces – according to MP Muhammad Asem this would require at least another 2000 soldiers or policemen. This however seems unlikely.