By: Sanjar Sohail
An investigation conducted by Hasht-e-Subh media has revealed that the documents published regarding the delivery of millions of dollars in checks from the Embassy of Qatar in Kabul to Ashraf Ghani’s representatives Abdul Rashid Dostum and Atta Muhammad Noor are false. This information was broadcasted by the Italian TG1 TV on February 1st, in an eight minute and thirty-second program. The check, which was received by Ajmal Ahmady, the head of the Central Bank of Afghanistan, was worth approximately 110 million four hundred and seventy-eight thousand dollars. This check is believed to be a gift from the Emir of Qatar to Ashraf Ghani, and was presented to Ajmal Ahmadi on July 7, 2021, at the embassy of Qatar in Kabul in the presence of Majed Al-Qahtani, the special representative of the Qatari government in the fight against terrorism and mediation for conflict resolution.
Subsequently, IG1 TV has released two similar documents indicating that millions of dollars were given to Ghani’s representatives, Rashid Dostum and Muhammad Noor, by the Emir of Qatar. One of these documents contained a forged signature of Enayatullah Babur Farahmand, the deputy of the Afghan High Peace Council, in the presence of Abdul Rashid Dostum. The document stated that the withdrawal of General Abdul Rashid Dostum from the war fronts in the north, particularly the provinces of Faryab and Jawzjan, was welcomed and, as per the agreement, a check of an amount of five million nine hundred thousand dollars was to be given to Babar. In numerical terms, the amount was fifty million and nine hundred thousand US dollars.
At the bottom of the third document, the signature of Mohammad Farhad Azimi, the former governor of Balkh, was falsified to appear as if it was the signature of Muhammad Noor. The manuscript states that “the government of Qatar expressed its gratitude for Muhammad Noor’s cooperation in the peace process, the transition of the political system, and the formation of a new government in Afghanistan,” and paid him the sum of sixty million nine hundred thousand US dollars as a “gift from the Emir of Qatar” in the form of a check.
Filippo Rossi, an Italian journalist who had reported on Afghanistan for many years, appeared on a GT1 television program and presented the documents as original and highly reliable records. When asked by the host how he had obtained them, he replied that he had built up a large network of trust in Afghanistan over the years, which had led him to the documents.
Immediately upon its publication, social media users raised doubts about the authenticity of the documents. Subsequently, GT1 TV removed the video of the report from its website without any explanation. La Repubblica (the Italian newspaper) also deleted the news from its website. Nevertheless, the link to the report remained on the Twitter pages of GT1 and la Repubblica for more than 24 hours, with several users commenting and asking why the links were not working or had been deleted.
The investigative reports team of Hasht-e-Subh had their doubts about the authenticity of the documents from the time of their publication. Consequently, they contacted Babur Farahmand, whose signature had been forged on one of the documents on behalf of Abdul Rashid Dostum. Babur Farahmand declared the published document to be false and informed Hasht-e-Subh that “a western media outlet had violated the standards and basic principles of journalism by publishing baseless and fake news about me and a group of patriotic politicians, listing us among the disloyal group of Ashraf Ghani and his circle.” He went on to say, “I have given the Italian TG1 media one month to prove its baseless claim and defamation; otherwise, I will pursue this violation through legal means and international media violation trials.” Babar Farahmand also stated that “the supporters of Ashraf Ghani, the former president of Afghanistan, and some foreign intelligence agencies are involved in this.”
Our team also contacted Farhad Azimi, the former governor of Balkh province, whose signature was generated at the foot of another similar document. Azimi wrote a Facebook post calling the documents fake, stating that he had not been to Kabul since he took charge of Balkh province in October 2020 until the fall of the republic on August 14, 2021, and had not traveled to Kabul for a month before the fall of Afghanistan to be part of the meeting in the Embassy of Qatar. In a direct conversation with Hasht-e-Subh, Azimi said that he wanted to restore his dignity and would take the issue to legal authorities in Europe, particularly Italy.
Why Are Those Documents Fake?
Hasht-e-Subh has discovered that the official documents of the Qatar government possess certain characteristics that are absent from the documents published on the Italian GT1 TV. Our team has verified with reliable sources in the Qatar government that for diplomatic missions, the embassies of Qatar adhere to a particular protocol, which includes the use of official titles only if an official is mentioned or referred to in the letter. For instance, “Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs” is listed under “Copy for” in the lower right corner of official documents. In such documents, the name or surname is not employed. Instead, the department to which a document is referred or copied is included.
Similarly, compared to the language of counterfeit documents of the TG1 network, the official language of the Qatar government is Arabic. Therefore, all government documents for diplomatic missions are also composed and recorded in this language. In rare cases, the government of Qatar attaches an ‘unofficial translation’ of the document in a second language.
Additionally, the letterhead of the counterfeit documents published by TG1 TV is not the official letterhead of Qatar government documents. According to the history of Qatar’s official documents, the font used is not the same as the font used by the Qatar government. Furthermore, the official documents of the Qatar government contain a barcode, which is absent from the fake documents published by the Italian media. The investigation conducted by Hasht-e-Subh has revealed that the ‘receipt document’ is not a valid copy and is not provided to anyone unless it is deliberately copied and published.
Fake News and Lies in the Age of Information
False information and gossip have been prevalent throughout human history. Historically, forgery was used for a variety of political, military, economic, social, and religious purposes. Individuals and groups have often sought to achieve their objectives or harm their adversaries by disseminating false claims and rumors. Sun Tzu, a renowned Chinese strategist, wrote a book called The Art of War, in which he stated that “the most effective offensive strategy is to attack the enemy’s morale before engaging in physical combat. It is about finding a way to defeat them without having to resort to violence.”
In recent years, the term ‘fake news‘ has become increasingly commonplace, particularly following the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. David Lazar MG, a professor of political science and computer information science, has written a paper entitled ‘Knowledge of Fake News’ in which he states that “fake news is fabricated information that is presented in a similar format to news media content, but without the same organizational process or intent”. Media outlets that spread fake news do not adhere to the same standards of accuracy and credibility as legitimate news outlets. Fake news is closely related to other forms of misinformation, such as false or misleading information, and information that is deliberately created to deceive the public.
With the advancement of information technology, the internet, and the widespread use of social media, the prevalence of fake news has also grown. This has made it difficult for reliable news sources to verify the accuracy of information. Now, anyone with a smartphone and access to the internet can quickly publish information from any corner of the world, which can reach millions of people.
The easy access to social networks has led to a culture of seeking fame and recognition among its users. As a result, people create content that is not credible or authentic in order to become famous or make money. Lazar has explained that this information is often presented in a similar form and structure to factual information, making it difficult for the audience to distinguish between the two. To combat this, several social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, have implemented mechanisms in cooperation with reliable news and information organizations and institutions to verify the information. This process, known as ‘verification’ or ‘fact-checking’ in English, helps the audience to determine the authenticity of news and information, and prevents them from being misled by false information.
Unfortunately, verification is not as common among certain media outlets, such as those that practice “yellow” journalism. These outlets do not devote enough time and energy to investigative reporting, which requires a great deal of energy, time, expertise, and resources – something that many media outlets unfortunately lack. After GT1 TV published these documents, several Afghan media outlets also published them without verifying their authenticity, and then reported the reactions of those accused in order to reduce their moral and professional responsibility. However, the spread of this news was already out of control, and it was published and republished as authentic documents for several days, leading to it being analyzed and mocked by social media users, particularly Afghans, who insulted those accused.
Competition, Accusation, and Deterioration of Qatar’s Image
In December of the previous year, the Vice President of the European Parliament and three other officials of the European Union (EU) were apprehended by the police of Belgium on the grounds of receiving bribes from officials of Qatar in relation to the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar. The Qatari government has denied any involvement in the financial scandal, however the European Union has declared that it may assess the requirements for Qatari citizens to enter Europe.
Andrea Cozzolino, an Italian citizen and Member of the European Parliament, is one of the individuals who had their parliamentary immunity revoked in this incident. He is a prominent politician in Italy and has been a Member of the European Parliament since 2009.
In several European countries, including Italy, the arrest of European Parliament officials on charges of receiving bribes from Qatar in the ‘Qatar Gate’ affair is one of the most talked-about topics of the day. According to Hasht-e-Subh data, the Italian media has also published unverified fake documents in order to capitalize on the captivating media environment that is currently taking place in Europe. This was done in an effort to amplify the accusations against the government of Qatar concerning the payment of bribes and safeguard Europe’s interests.
The government of Qatar employs a variety of methods to garner the support of politicians from other countries in order to protect its political and economic interests. This country takes advantage of its connections with extremist groups to become involved in regional affairs. For instance, Qatar was able to bolster its standing in international diplomacy during a period when its Arab adversaries had joined forces to isolate it, by facilitating peace talks between the United States and the Taliban. Qatar’s ties with the Taliban and other extremist organizations supplement the country’s financial and media role. The leaders of Qatar are playing the same game in the Middle East, understanding that without the tools of intimidation, they will not be able to compete with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Iran.
During the course of hosting negotiations between the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban, the Qatar government provided luxury villas and a monthly allowance of several thousand dollars to the members of both parties, and continues to do so. Additionally, Qatari sheiks have been visiting some of the western provinces, paying Afghan government officials both during the republic and now, in order to hunt rare birds and ensure their security. The British Newspaper Telegraph published a report, which showed that during the World Cup football games, the Taliban officials had also participated in the construction of stadiums in Qatar, worth millions of dollars.
Despite the reasons and evidence presented, evidence of falsified documents can be found elsewhere. Since 2017, Qatar has experienced significant political and diplomatic issues with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Egypt. Despite the attempts of these countries to restrict Qatar and impose harsh sanctions, Doha was able to successfully navigate this situation and strengthen its ties with the United States, Europe, and other regional countries. However, Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup has exacerbated the tension between the country and the UAE.
For a considerable period of time, the United Arab Emirates has been a major economic, transit, and entertainment hub, and its politicians are attempting to preserve this status at all costs. In recent years, it has attempted various methods to weaken Qatar on the international stage and impede it from becoming an alternative economic, transit, and entertainment center in the region. Some sources have suggested that the UAE intelligence is behind the Qatar Gate scandal. Jack Parrock, a reporter in the European Parliament, tweeted last year (December 14) that “some sources close to power in the Qatari government have confirmed that everyone believes the UAE is behind this story.”
BREAKING: Confirmed sources close to power #Qatar have told me that in the government in Doha, "everyone believes the #UAE is behind it [hatching a conspiracy]”, in relation to the escalating corruption scandal engulfing the European Parliament. #Kaili #QatarGate
— Jack Parrock (@jackeparrock) December 14, 2022
Despite the falsified documents concerning Afghan politicians, evidence of the United Arab Emirates’ involvement can be seen. Dr. Andreas Carrick, a professor at the London School of Economics, tweeted, “It appears that Qatar’s adversaries in Abu Dhabi have deliberately released false information in order to undermine Doha’s approach in Afghanistan.”
Meanwhile, the UAE are engaging and courting both the Taliban and the old networks around the Ghani regime simultaneously https://t.co/sys2vJYBzY
— Dr Andreas Krieg (@andreas_krieg) February 2, 2023
Hasht-e-Subh also believes that the aforementioned fake documents were indirectly provided to Afghans whom Filippo Rossi trusts, via the intelligence intermediaries of the United Arab Emirates. This raises the question of why such documents were published against Ashraf Ghani when he had taken refuge in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. It is noteworthy that Muhammad Noor also resides in Dubai.
Ashraf Ghani’s Ties with the UAE
For both the 2014 and 2019 elections, Ashraf Ghani was greatly aided by the support of the United Arab Emirates. Sources report that the United Arab Emirates provided millions of dollars in cash to Ashraf Ghani’s election campaigns during both of his administrations. A former senior official in charge of national security in Afghanistan stated, “the United Arab Emirates donated approximately $80 million to Ashraf Ghani during the elections so that he could use it for his election campaigns.”
Despite this, there were still further reasons for the United Arab Emirates to support Ashraf Ghani. Over the years of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, Dubai had become one of the most influential commercial and economic cities in the region, providing a safe haven for corrupt Afghan officials seeking both entertainment and money. Subsequently, the majority of the corruption-related funds in Afghanistan were invested in the real estate and economic development of the country. Additionally, billions of dollars in cash were smuggled into Afghanistan through its airports, and even during the Kabul Bank scandal, documents were made public that showed how Dubai-based partners of Kabul Bank had purchased people’s money in exchange for villas and other property investments. Furthermore, according to documents released during the WikiLeaks disclosure of secret U.S. government documents, senior officials of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan traveled to the UAE with large amounts of money in cash to deposit the funds they had obtained from corruption and bribery in the banks there.
During the final years of the U.S. in Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani’s inner circle attempted to acquire crucial and important resources for Afghanistan’s security forces from the United Arab Emirates. Hamdullah Mohib, the national security adviser to Ashraf Ghani, expressed in multiple meetings that he was aiming to use Dubai to provide material aid and repair services for the army aircraft. It was anticipated that these contracts, which had an annual value in the hundreds of millions of dollars, would result in corruption and financial exploitation, as well as increase the bank accounts of Ashraf Ghani’s followers and the UAE’s economy. The United Arab Emirates, which has traditionally supported the Taliban and was one of three countries that recognized the group during the Taliban’s first term in power, was motivated to support Ashraf Ghani due to the competition with Qatar, which has hosted the Taliban’s political office since 2010. The United Arab Emirates was expected to host the Taliban and play a major role in the negotiations between the United States and the Taliban, given its strong ties with the Haqqani network and several economic circles of the Taliban. However, Qatar took the initiative to host the Taliban office instead.
Now that the Taliban have regained power in Afghanistan due to the Doha Agreement and with the political and economic support of Qatar, the UAE is attempting to belittle Qatar’s role in the current political negotiations between the U.S. and the Taliban in order to capitalize on this situation.
Following his escape, Ashraf Ghani sought asylum in Abu Dhabi in the hope of gaining the support of some of the UAE princes for the Taliban rule or for a possible unified government that would be imposed on the Taliban due to international pressure. The UAE is still looking to use Ashraf Ghani as a bargaining chip for a larger role in Afghanistan. The Taliban have made efforts to appease the UAE, as they have a long history of cooperation and are aware of its financial and political support capabilities. For example, in May of last year, the UAE company “GAK” took control of Kabul airport, Kandahar airport, and Herat airport, while Turkey and Qatar made significant efforts to take full control of the Kabul airport. Therefore, the acting first deputy minister of the Taliban, Abdul Ghani Baradar, who is said to be in contact with the United Arab Emirates, signed the contract in order to maintain ties with the former republican officials.
Ashraf Ghani initially attempted to influence the Taliban with his silence and some of his words, as the internal alliances of the Taliban group were still unclear. By proposing an “inclusive government” and offering a share to the affluent of the republic, he sought to instill confidence among many transactional politicians. Ghani believed that, with the assistance of the United Arab Emirates, his status in the republic, and the trust he had among a group of non-Taliban, he could regain his political influence in the Taliban’s “inclusive government”. He remained silent for a time about the Taliban’s atrocities and the plan to hand over the country to terrorists, and when he finally spoke, he did so in a compromising manner and with an accusing look (a longer beard). Ultimately, it became apparent that the support Ghani had anticipated was not forthcoming, and his potential to become a prominent figure ended the day he chose to prioritize his safety over his mission and leave the country. This may have been much earlier than when the last foundations of the republic system collapsed due to his stubbornness and inflexibility, and his preference for contact with the Haqqanis over building a majority among the republic supporters. Consequently, the future of the regional competition between Qatar and the United Arab Emirates will depend on whether Ashraf Ghani is effective in that situation.
Who Could Have Provided the Italian Journalists with false Documents?
Human cultures have a long history of disseminating false information. Another term for “fake news” is “Sar-e-Chawk News,” which is widely used in Afghanistan. This term is used when news is circulated among the public and is passed down orally, in the media, and on social media.
Having been a journalist for the past 22 years, I can confirm that certain groups and individuals within the former National Security Directorate of Afghanistan have employed rumors and fake news to varying degrees, and that certain units within that department have even been responsible for organizing such activities. Thus, both the Afghan government and the Taliban have taken advantage of rumors, false reports, and fabricated data prior to the collapse of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in August 2021 for their own purposes.
Considering previous experiences, there are four alternatives for the release and forging of these documents:
- A) Ashraf Ghani’s followers, Hamdullah Mohib and Fazl Mahmoud Fazli
B) Amrullah Saleh’s Circle
C) The U.S.-affiliated intelligence circle
D) The Taliban
Ashraf Ghani’s Circle
By gaining Ashraf Ghani’s trust, his circle was able to gain control of important government offices and even give away certain Afghan government offices to certain people in exchange for money through their intermediaries. This group believes that they still have a chance to participate in politics in Afghanistan if the country’s political climate changes, as they are still young. This plan assumes that it is in their best interests to keep Ashraf Ghani in the public eye, which reduces their accountability and shifts the primary criticism of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s inefficiency and corruption during Ashraf Ghani’s administration onto him. By mentioning this possibility, the author does not intend to absolve Ashraf Ghani. It is clear that the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan collapsed due to Ashraf Ghani, who was notorious for corruption and fraud. The author contacted two former Afghan National Security personnel who had been responsible for creating false documents and spreading rumors after these documents had been released. For this reason, I will not name these people or discuss their reputations due to the sensitivity of the topic.
According to both authorities, documents were allegedly faked by Ashraf Ghani’s circle of supporters. One of them commented that Ashraf Ghani’s circle of followers lacked the literacy in Farsi to produce such an elegant text. As a result of their close relationship with Mr. Ashraf Ghani, these two individuals further suggested that Mr. Ghani himself or his wife would have received money from Qatar or other sources. They also claimed that Ashraf Ghani was highly selfish and did not trust anyone in financial matters other than his wife, Laura Ghani.
It is interesting that I received the same response when I spoke with Mr. Abdul Rashid Dostum’s and Atta Mohammad Noor’s relatives. One of Mr. Atta Mohammad Noor’s relatives stated, among other topics: “If the Qatari government has paid Atta Mohammad Noor, the money would have been transferred by Mr. Noor through his son Khalid Noor, who was a part of the negotiation team of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.” He would have received it while in Doha for the negotiations. Two of Abdul Rashid Dostum’s close friends also told me that Mr. Dostum would have either himself or his sons receive the money for “intelligence, political gifts, and operational money.”
Amrullah Saleh’s circle
Amrullah Saleh, who was Ashraf Ghani’s vice president, was similarly infamous. for falsifying news and creating rumors. Given Mr. Saleh’s strong background in intelligence, some people speculate that he and his close friends may have created the fake documents related to the Qatari government’s payment of money.
Close associates of Mr. Saleh allege that he is discrediting his political opponents by spreading false information and taking advantage of the public’s anger in Afghanistan. In response to the release of these documents on his Twitter page, Ata Mohammad Noor also indirectly blamed Mr. Saleh and his close circle, tweeting “I have no doubt that the ‘information consumers’ of the false and corrupt republic are also involved in these conspiracies.”
In the later years of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the phrase “information consumer” became a popular term, often used as a sarcastic nickname for Mr. Amrullah Saleh by social media users and a number of Afghan officials.
Despite my efforts to research whether or not Mr. Saleh or his close friends were involved in fabricating these documents and his response to Mr. Noor’s claim, I was not able to get enough information due to a lack of access to Mr. Saleh. It seems doubtful that Mr. Saleh will acknowledge or deny the notion that he and those in his inner circle were engaged in fabricating these documents. The only person who may help in this regard is Italian journalist Filippo Rossi, whom I repeatedly tried to contact in order to find out the truth.
The U.S. Intelligence Affiliated Circle
Several observers of the situation and those involved in the former Afghan government have suggested that certain intelligence circles linked to the United States are attempting to divert attention away from the consequences of the Doha Agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban, as well as the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, which resulted in the collapse of the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. These groups are attempting to absolve themselves of responsibility by “documenting the issue,” according to an anonymous Taliban negotiator on the Afghan government’s team. This negotiator further explained that “it is true that corruption was one of the key elements involved in the collapse of the republic, but the main factor was the Doha Agreement, which was signed by the Trump administration and implemented by the Biden administration.”
The contentious and hard-fought dispute concerning corruption in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s government is widely perceived by those with direct knowledge of the nation’s current affairs and observers as a primary factor in the republic’s rapid collapse and the resurgence of the Taliban. Nevertheless, a former Afghan government official informed me that corruption in the country was actually what kept the nation’s administration strong and cohesive, not what caused it to disintegrate.
On January 24th of this year, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo published his memoirs, in which he attributed the collapse of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s government to corruption. He labelled Ashraf Ghani “a big force against peace” and characterized him as a “super liar or an absolute fraud”. At the same time, Donald Trump made the decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan without consulting the U.S. military. The New York Times and other U.S. media outlets reported that Trump had ordered the nation’s senior military leaders to leave the country before the time limit specified in the peace agreement between the United States and the Taliban. The Taliban and the U.S. signed the Doha Agreements in the presence of Mike Pompeo, the Trump administration’s secretary of state. However, the U.S. military withdrawal did not begin under Trump’s administration; rather, it started under Joe Biden’s leadership and reached a disastrous conclusion towards the end of August 2021, sixteen days after Ashraf Ghani’s escape.
President Trump has decided to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan, despite Washington’s policy towards South Asian nations. According to the country’s four-year presence strategy in Afghanistan, the United States is seen as a major threat to terrorist networks, particularly the Taliban, and if this group had not participated in the peace talks, it would have been eliminated in accordance with this strategy.
Many people believe that the Doha Agreement and America’s trust in the Taliban and their allies were the most significant factors in the downfall of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. After eighteen months, it is now evident that Afghanistan has become a safe haven for terrorism. By disregarding the Doha agreements, those who have taken refuge in the Islamic Emirate could soon present serious dangers to the region and the world. Consequently, Joe Biden’s lack of sympathy for the tragedy occurring in Afghanistan, and the Republican members of the U.S. Congress’ attempts to officially investigate and assess Joe Biden’s decision to leave Afghanistan, have caused some U.S. intelligence circles to attempt to sway public opinion by connecting “corruption” and Ghani’s lack of leadership to the former government’s collapse and the Taliban’s takeover. It is clear that the system’s breakdown and the Taliban’s takeover did not happen abruptly, and no one—not even Ashraf Ghani or Joe Biden—can be held solely accountable. A variety of internal and external sociopolitical factors influence such political changes over time. Apart from external factors, the disaster in Afghanistan involved all forces and political parties active in the republic.
The role of the government’s leadership and the individuals with the potential and power to influence the country are of paramount importance, not only in terms of their position and qualifications, but also in terms of their leadership capabilities. Leadership is especially crucial in times of crisis, such as the first half of 2021, when a country is in danger of collapsing or resisting. Leaders who are able to maintain their social and political positions while also demonstrating the necessary tact and intelligence may be able to avert conspiracies and risks that could lead to the country’s redemption. Unfortunately, Ashraf Ghani lacked the leadership intelligence, social and political credibility, and tact to recognize the danger.
It is hypothesized that the counterfeit documents provided to the Italian journalist and then broadcast on the Italian television channel GT1 were sent by the Taliban’s Spy Directorate, a major governmental body that has conducted numerous operations of this kind over the past two decades. For example, when the Taliban assumed power, its militants released recordings and images from the homes of former Afghan government officials, alleging that they had discovered millions of dollars and numerous bottles of wine. The Taliban released videos and photographs upon their arrival, claiming to have taken the money, which indicates that corruption was a widespread issue during the republic and that some of the republic’s corrupt officials may not have been able to move the money from their residences to a secure location. Such videos and photographs can also be interpreted as intelligence activities intended to shape public opinion and fabricate information.
According to the author of this text, the Taliban would benefit from the disclosure of documents that could reveal the corruption and inefficiency of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, as well as the individuals involved in it, due to the increasing international pressure and the widespread dissatisfaction with their policies and performance. In a series of tweets, Mr. Rahmatullah Nabil, a former director of national security in Afghanistan, stated: “I believe the recent findings to be an attempt to discredit the republic as a whole and to desecrate it, as it is part of intelligence propaganda in order to gain legitimacy for the Taliban Emirate.”
On the other hand, there were discussions of reactionary policies within internal circles and among Afghans when the Taliban leadership’s tumultuous relationship and the exclusion of women from schools and universities brought Afghanistan back into the global spotlight. The Taliban had tightened their grip, and the release of these documents could reduce the pressure from propaganda on them. Additionally, a list of properties belonging to former Afghan government employees that had been seized in the Shirpur area of Kabul was recently published, occupying the Afghan media with it for two weeks.
It appears more likely than other possibilities that the Taliban or those who support them were responsible for the dissemination of false documents on GT1 TV. These documents may have been influenced by foreign entities with an interest in the Taliban’s continued governance and a wish for the current political situation to remain in place for a reasonable period of time, by a group of Taliban who are seen as moderates and who wish to take control of Afghanistan. As pressure mounts against the Taliban, they are attempting to draw attention to the fact that former leaders, who are seen as alternatives to the Taliban, are not suitable trustees by highlighting their corruption.
Politicians and intelligence officials are uniquely qualified to carry out this kind of propaganda campaign. They understand that the dissemination of false information, even if it is based on a real, tangible fact, can have an impact on public opinion. Therefore, due to the similarity of the news to reality, as well as the bribery and financial corruption among the political leaders of the republic, the documents released on the GT1 TV channel, which were written in an unusual language, were easily recognizable for their peculiarity. Subsequently, the news spread quickly, was well-received, and sparked intense debates in the media, all of which worked in the Taliban’s favor.