After a period of silence, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, former Mujahideen leader, made a statement, expressing criticism about certain issues. He seems unsatisfied with the fact that the Taliban’s opponents have become active outside Afghanistan, attempting to mobilize themselves. According to him, America’s position towards the Taliban has shifted, resulting in emboldening the opponents of the Kabul-based regime. Hekmatyar, disregarded by the Taliban, expresses sympathy with the Taliban on numerous occasions, raising his complaints about the group. He also asks for information about issues that the Taliban do not consider necessary to share with him. Hekmatyar seems to oscillate between satisfaction with the Taliban regime and resentment and dissatisfaction with them. His acts indicate both a complaint and an indirect defense at the same time. Sometimes he accuses the United States of interfering in Afghanistan’s affairs, which is actually defending the Taliban, and sometimes he makes mild complaints about this group demanding addressing them.
Hekmatyar has also used the technique mentioned in his new comment. He is upset about the meetings of the Taliban opponents in Norway, Tajikistan, and Austria, as well as about the fact that he lives in an information vacuum, having to rely on rumors, and wanting clarification on some cases.
The fact is that Hekmatyar is not a reputable politician due to his participation in destructive regulatory wars and quasi-Taliban activities in the past. Therefore, he is neither highly popular among the people, nor are the countries involved in the Afghan crisis attaching him much importance. Even Pakistan, a country that Hekmatyar once depended on politically, has not paid attention to him for a long time. In the past, the relationship between the Taliban and Hekmatyar was not good enough for this group to trust him and his party. Currently, the Taliban do not revere Hekmatyar. He has turned into a burnt nut, making him try more than ever not to be forgotten and be remembered among the factors involved in the Afghanistan crisis which have to be dealt with seriously.
When Hekmatyar observes that his old and usual opponents are active, working for the cohesion of the anti-Taliban front, he finds himself anguished. Hekmatyar has a very deep grudge against some of his past political rivals, including Ahmad Shah Massoud, the Afghan commander who did not let Hekmatyar achieve a large part of his totalitarian and nationalist dreams in Afghanistan, both before and after the fall of Kabul to the Mujahideen. Now that Massoud’s son is trying to follow his father’s path with several countries paying attention to him, Hekmatyar is suffering more from the Taliban, compelled to break his silence and attack his former opponents. It is as if his pains are more than the Taliban and thus, sometimes things get worse than ever.
Hekmatyar’s political record is featured with totalitarianism. His political monotony in the past led Afghanistan into violence and atrocity, ultimately resulting in his isolation. His stay with the Taliban is because both surpass the other in totalitarianism and ethnocentrism, and they fight from the same trench against those who challenge chauvinism and want an inclusive government with the presence of all ethnic groups and political currents. If today the opponents of the Taliban and Hekmatyar are rebuilding and mobilizing themselves to defend their rights against the totalitarians and chauvinists, we should be surprised if Hekmatyar and the Taliban remain silent and do not react.
However, being an opportunistic politician, Hekmatyar has consistently tried to take advantage of every chance to gain political power and prominence. At a time when the Western-backed government was still working in Afghanistan, Hekmatyar in an Eid message defined a line against the Hazaras, warning of their forced migration. However, contrary to his warning, Hezb-e-Islami led by Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal, which is called a separate branch of Hezb-e-Islami led by Hekmatyar, commenced an alliance with Muhammad Mohaqiq, one of the leaders of Hazara and Abdullah Abdullah, one of the leaders of the movement that Hekmatyar has fought with for years. Hekmatyar was trying to incite the ethnic sentiments of the Pashtuns and increase his popularity among them by issuing fatwas against the Hazaras. On this pretext, he also mobilized some senior members of Hezb-e-Islami, yielding no positive results.
Later, during the campaigns for the presidential and provincial council elections, Hekmatyar, who considered holding any election in the presence of foreign forces to be illegal, asked his supporters to boycott the presidential election but to participate in the provincial council elections widely.
If, according to Hekmatyar, presidential elections in a country under the control of foreign forces are illegitimate, how can provincial council elections be legitimate and legal? How can this paradox be solved? Only an opportunist can have such a stance. This opportunism arose from the political determinism that was imposed on Hekmatyar and he was forced to cope with it. Hekmatyar’s opportunism is for him to have at least a share of power for himself if he cannot take it completely.
With his recent stance, Hekmatyar is trying to complain to the Taliban about why they do not keep him informed about their dealings with the US and to somehow show his anger at holding meetings of the Taliban’s opponents outside of Afghanistan. Thereby, he seeks to listen to the Taliban so that they can count on him. Like the Taliban, Hekmatyar does not believe in an inclusive government that includes all ethnic groups and political currents. Like the Taliban, he wants a Pashtun-centric centralized government in Afghanistan: one of dozens of common points between Hekmatyar and the Taliban. Hence, Hekmatyar can easily work with the Taliban, if they are interested in working together with him.