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Home » Foreign Policy » Era of Confusion: 1988-2001 » CIVIL WAR IN AFGHANISTAN 1990-1998


The last troop of Soviet Union left Afghanistan in 1989, after the withdrawal of the Soviet troops than Afghanistan faced the collapse and fragmentation because of the civil war “the Afghan tribal disputes and blood feuds”. A bloody civil war shattered this already war-ruined country into a larger fragmentation. There were various ethnic conflicts. This war was not only confined to Najibullah’s and the afghan mujahedeen but many ethnic groups participated actively. In 1922, the Uzbek ethnic armed forces led by general Dostam, along with the forces loyal to Ahmad Shah Massoud and caused the collapse of Nijbullah’s govt but despite the above mention in 1993, the Uzbek and Massoud’s forces opened fire on each other.During the war against the soviets, there were various armed local political groups which had made a political Identity owing to secure their political status. These political leaders financed and backed their loyal riflemen to maintain what they had developed. As time passed, many military and militia and other civil servants of Najibullah’s regime, collaborated with the local Mujahedeen and it became a major organized force. Afghanistan had a number of ethnic groups like Pushtoon, Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Baluchis, Turkmens, and Kiarghir. Pushtoon are mostly Sunni Muslim but there is a small sector who is Shia Muslim. Almost 5 million Afghans took refuge in Pakistan and the war in Afghanistan brought many economical and financial opportunities for the people in the NWFP which is modern day called Khyber Pukhtun Khwa.


As the Russians went to their own homeland and left Afghanistan on the fate of its local people than Afghans established an Islamic govt with the help of Inter-service Intelligence (ISI), and USA which would fight against the pro-soviet regime in Kabul. A serious conflict between the majority Afghan Sunni and minority Afghan Shia raised on the issue of sharing power under the Peshawar Accord. The external front wanted to weak the internal front from its decision making Mechanism, owing to this Mujahedeen lost the ability to change the balance of power inside the country and it caused heinous physical destruction to the country and human loss.


In January, 1992, the Uzbek forces revolted against the government under the leadership of General Abdul Rashid Dostam and later on, Najibullah was arrested at air-port when he was leaving to India. The Pro-soviet regime reached to its end In April 29, 1992 and a new an interim govt was made.


Mujadid came to Kabul and announced the establishment of Dowlat-e-Islamia-e-Afghanistan, the Islamic State of Afghanistan. Rabbani was appointed the president of the state by interim govt of Afghanistan but at that hour a conflict between the Muslim and Shia population started over the control of Kabul University. Hekmatyar was against the government and had won the support of Hezb-e-Wahdat; both the parties accused the govt forces. Hekmatyar attacked on Kabul who backed by ISI and Pakistan Army on heavy weapons and devastated the whole city by bombardment. Kabul was divided into various ethnic groups by the invasion of Hekmatyar and its allies. Most of the Pushtoon supported Hekmatyar, Massoud supported by non-Pushtoon, Dostam was backed by Uzbeks and Hezb-e-Wahdat supported by Hazaras. More than 5,000 people were killed by the end of 1992.


On March 7, 1993, Saudi King Fahd intervened in the matter in order to abolish the internal disputes and conflicts among the Afghans. He invited the great afghan leaders and decided that Hekmatyar would be the premier and Rabbani appointed as president of the state but they did not rule for a long time.


On June 25, Massoud attacked on his opposition and according to international Committee of the Red Cross more than half a million fled the city, 3000 were killed and 19,000 wounded. This fighting made the situation very severe that even people hardly get the drinking water. Most of the local Afghans accused mujahedeen for such blunders and smashes. This armed conflict left Afghanistan shattered and fragmented. Later on, Dostam and Hekmatyar formed an alliance against Massoud and Rabbani-led forces.


In later 1993, the Afghanistan was under the control of various armed groups. The north was under Dostam along with Hezb-e-Wahdat. The east under the control of Haji Qadir. The south was under the control of Malawi Haqhani and west was in the hands of Ismail khan who at  the end became an active supporter of Rabbani and Massoud. Thus Afghanistan was divided into many Independent regions.


Thus Afghanistan was deprived from calm and stable leadership and lost its political identity due the various conflicts.


The civil war has very long term consequences and impacts, which are;

  1. The war fragmented the Kabul.
  2. It damaged the whole infrastructure of Afghanistan.
  3. Million of people were displaced and other was killed during the war.
  4. This war divided the society on ethnic bases.
  5. The war created opportunities for the foreigners to intervene for personal purposes.
  6. Mujahedeen lost their status and now people have no respect for them.


To conclude, the Soviet Union stayed in Afghanistan for nearly 10 years because of the weak leadership of Afghanistan and the conflicts among the various ethnic groups. If these local Afghans didn’t fight with each other than the situation would be totally differ which is today. No group had love for country but everyone was fighting for balance of power and thus they meet to failure.

About Ali Tariq

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