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Jamiat-e Islami-yi Afghanistan (Jamiat)314

Jamiat was one of the original Islamist parties in Afghanistan, established in the 1970s by students at Kabul University, where its leader, Burhanuddin Rabbani, was a lecturer in the Islamic Law Faculty.  Although Rabbani was the official head of Jamiat through the 1980s and early 1990s, the most powerful figure within the party was Ahmad Shah Massoud, who led the military wing of Jamiat-e Islami through the 1980s.  (Massoud was assassinated on September 9, 2001.)  Rabbani is Tajik, as was Massoud, and Jamiat-e Islami was and remains a predominately Tajik party.  Rabbani has a base of support in the northeast province of Badakhshan.  Massoud’s ethnic power base was historically in Parwan and Takhar provinces, where he established a regional military and administrative structure in the late 1980s, the Supervisory Council of the North (Shura-e Nazar).  Rabbani became the President of Afghanistan in 1992, and the government under his control was predominately comprised of Jamiat members.  Mohammad Qasim Fahim, Abdullah, and Yunis Qanooni—all members of President Hamid Karzai’s interim cabinet from 2002-2004—were members of Jamiat and Shura-e Nazar.

Ittihad-i Islami Bara-yi Azadi Afghanistan (Ittihad)315

Ittihad is headed by Abdul Rabb al-Rasul Sayyaf.  During the war against the Soviet occupation, Sayyaf obtained considerable assistance from Saudi Arabia, and Arab volunteers supported by private and governmental sources from Saudi Arabia fought with Sayyaf's forces.  Ittihad in 1992-1993 had its central power based in Paghman district, west of Kabul, and was allied with the Rabbani government and Massoud’s Jamiat forces.  Today, Sayyaf has no official government post but exercises a large amount of political power of President Karzai’s political, judicial, and military appointments.  Many Ittihad members have served from 2002 to mid-2005 as officials in the ministry of defense, ministry of interior, and in the Supreme Court and lower courts.

Hezb-e Wahdat-e Islami-yi Afghanistan (Wahdat)316

The principal Shi’a party in Afghanistan with support mainly among the Hazara ethnic community, Hezb-e Wahdat was originally formed by Abdul Ali Mazari to unite eight Shi’a parties in Afghanistan in the run-up to the collapse of the communist government.  Mazari was Wahdat’s leader in 1992-1993, but its senior commanders also included Muhammad Karim Khalili and Haji Muhammad Muhaqqiq, who commanded troops in Kabul and in the north of Afghanistan at the time.  Hezb-e Wahdat received significant military support from Iran in the early 1990s.  Mazari was killed in 1995, as the Taliban were fighting to seize Kabul.  Both Khalili and Muhaqqiq were members of President Karzai’s cabinet in 2002-2004 and Khalili was elected as a vice-president in the October 2004 election.

Junbish-e Milli-yi Islami-yi Afghanistan (Junbish)317

Junbish brought together northern ethnic Uzbek and Turkmen militias of the communist regime who mutinied against President Najibullah in early 1992.  It also included former leaders and administrators of the old regime from various other ethnic groups, mainly Persian-speaking, and some Uzbek mujahedin commanders, as well as some erstwhile Jamiat and Wahdat commanders who later left Junbish and rejoined their former factions.  This group took control of the important northern city of Mazar-i Sharif in alliance with Jamiat in early 1992 and controlled much of the northern provinces of Samangan, Balkh, Jowzjan, Faryab, and Baghlan provinces.  The leader of Junbish throughout the 1990s and up to the present is Abdur Rashid Dostum, who ran for president in the 2004 election.

Harakat-e Islami-yi Afghanistan (Harakat)318

Harakat-e Islami was a Shi’a political party and mujahedin force founded in the early 1980s.  The Harakat-e Islami party was headed for most of the 1980s by a Shi’a cleric named Mohammad Asef Mohseni (who participated in the June 2002 loya jirga). Over the last decade, Harakat-e Islami has splintered into three parts. One faction is led by the original leader, Mohammad Asef Mohseni, a second splinter is led by a military commander Hossein Anwari (agricultural minister in Afghanistan’s transitional government and in mid-2005 the governor of Kabul), and a third is led by Sayeed Mohammad Ali Javeed (until 2004 the minister of transportation).  In 1992-1993, Harakat received substantial support from Iran.  But although predominately Shi’a, Harakat never joined the Wahdat party.

[314] Jamiat-e Islami-yi Afghanistan means “Islamic Society of Afghanistan.”

[315] Ittihad-i Islami Bara-yi Azadi Afghanistanmeans “Islamic Union for the Liberation of Afghanistan.”

[316] Hezb-e Wahdat-e Islami-yi Afghanistan means “Islamic Unity Party of Afghanistan.”

[317] Junbish-e Milli-yi Islami-yi Afghanistan means “National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan.”

[318] Harakat-e Islami-yi Afghanistan in English means “Islamic Movement of Afghanistan.”

<<previous  |  index  |  next>>July 2005