Amid continued tension between national unity government leaders – namely President Ashraf Ghani and First Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum – some senior government officials have reportedly held discussions in the country and abroad in what appears to be a sign of a new united front.
As part of these discussions, Atta Mohammad Noor, governor of Balkh and CEO of Jamiat-e-Islami Party of Afghanistan and Mohammad Mohaqiq, the second deputy CEO of the NUG and head of Islamic Unity Party of the People of Afghanistan met separately with Dostum in Turkey.
Noor met with Dostum on Tuesday and Mohaqiq on Monday. Meanwhile, acting foreign minister Salahuddin Rabbani reportedly left for Turkey on Wednesday, but he is yet to meet with Dostum.
“Mohaqiq’s trip was a vacation and a personal journey and I don’t think anything else is involved,” said Jawed Faisal, a spokesman for Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.
Before going to Turkey, Noor and Mohaqiq sharply criticized government for recent incidents.
“If the country’s problems are resolved, then we do not have any personal problem. Otherwise, we have to launch the strongest and the most dangerous civil movements,” Noor told a gathering last week.
A few months ago, the Balkh governor entered direct talks with Ghani where they reportedly reached some agreements.
The full outcome of the Ghani-Noor talks has been unclear but some reports indicate the negotiations failed.
“We expect influential political parties to play constructive roles in the current situation while respecting the Constitution and observing the principles of the game,” said Shahussain Murtazawi, the president’s spokesman, commenting on the negotiations between Ghani and Noor.
Reports indicate that sudden meetings between Jamiat members and Mohaqiq with Dostum are aimed at constituting a united political front aimed at putting pressure on government – to accept their demands.
“The reason why the individuals from inside government go and make a coalition is that they are unhappy with government,” said Ainuddin Bahaduri, a member of Afghanistan’s Lawyers Union.
Jamiat-e-Islami and Islamic National Movement have not commented about these claims.
A coalition among Jamiat-e-Islami, National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan and Islamic Unity Party of the people of Afghanistan was formed before 2014 presidential elections but it did not last long.