BBC Persian reporter Dawood Naji writes from Kabul about the formation of a new political front that brings together what would otherwise be an unlikely cohort of yesteryear’s communist party ranking members (Khalqi and Parchami) and their later Jihadi successors.
The list of founding members features a motley crew composed of known faces from both extremes of the ideological spectrum in Afghanistan: deposed defense minister and the inheritor of Shura-y Nizar Marshall Fahim, comrade Gulabzoy (who has since prefixed his name with “Sayed Mohammad”), friend Nurulhaq Ulumi, former president and head of Jamiat-e-Islami Rabbani, and the group’s speaker Mustafa Kazemi with a dubious political pedigree of his own.
“The National Front,” as the group is called, clearly comprises a powerful bloc within both houses of the Afghan parliament. It is clear that the primary raison d’etre for the newfound unity (“brotherhood” or “camaraderie” take your pick) is the simple fact that within the new political configuration in Afghanistan, people of both above stripes see themselves increasingly marginalized.
Interestingly enough, the new grouping has decidedly shut out figures with the indisputable honorific “Warlord” such as Sayyaf, Muhaqiq, Dustum, and a few others. While the latter mostly sport longer beards and tightly wound turbans, and wear their Jihadi pride on their sleeves, Mustafa Kazemi and crew prefer to go with closer trims and more urbane styles. That in itself ought to place them ahead in the game as far as the American powerbrokers are concerned.
The article in BBC Persian also points out that many of the figures in the new line-up of the “National Front” were disgruntled with the results of the constitutional Loya Jirga, and specifically with the strong presidency. To the end they fought for a parliamentary form of government and an office of the Prime Minister and were clearly unhappy when things turned otherwise. When asked whether the new front would struggle for such structural reforms as the shift to a parliamentary form of government, Mustafa Kazemi deferred to the constitution and change that would be consistent with the stipulations of the constitution. His comrades, however, strongly endorsed such structural reforms.