News - Afghanistan
A deteriorating security situation in the northern parts of Afghanistan has resulted in two former rivals Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum and Atta Mohammad Noor setting aside their differences and forging a new coalition aimed at fighting insurgents.
Noor, from Jamiat-e-Islami Party of Afghanistan, and Dostum, from Junbish-i-Milli Islami Afghanistan, reportedly held several meetings over the past week in which both sides pledged to put their differences aside and work together to tackle common issues, said Zabi Fitrat, deputy spokesman to Jamiat-e-Islami on Monday.
"One of the key reasons for the union is the deteriorating security situation in the northern regions. Security threats are on the rise in the northern parts of the country, an issue which persuaded the two influential political forces to make an alliance and jointly fight the threats," Fitrat said.
He said that the two leaders met in Faryab province and shook hands in an attempt to put aside their political differences and work for national peace and security.
In addition, prominent members from the two parties are holding talks in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, to discuss ways to fight insurgency in the north. In the meetings, both sides vowed to work together to fight for peace.
"The two political forces are determined to continue backing the security forces and ensure the defense of people's peace and security," he said. "The plan is firm, the two political parties will fight the enemy that is an enemy to the security forces."
Relations between Noor and the central government have often been tense in the past and Noor has on occasion accused the central government of neglecting the security threats in Afghanistan's northern regions.
Meanwhile, some Afghan political commentators have said that the government's inability to suppress insurgency in the north has forced the formation of the coalition between Dostum and Noor.
"I think the weakness of the government and other issues brought them together. But the important thing for the public is for the security situation to improve," university lecturer Maria Raheen said.
Some have expressed doubts about the durability of the arrangement. "The alliance will not be for a longstanding period, because they have also experienced such alliances in the past and later it collapsed due to internal and foreign interventions imposed on them," political analyst Abdul Qadir Misbah said.
Still, Balkh residents have, for the most part, welcomed the coalition with open arms, calling on the two sides to stick to their commitments and work for the interests of the nation.
"The alliance will yield positive outcomes if there are no personal motives behind it," a resident of Balkh province named Qamaruddin said.
"We are optimistic for the union between former Jihadi leaders and hope that this will contribute in strengthening the security situation," another resident Abdul Mansour said.