Hezbe Wahdat - The Political Fragmentation of Hizb-e Wahdat

The Political Fragmentation of Hizb-e Wahdat

The situation of Hizb-e Wahdat in early 2009 and its political fragmentation can best be explained by the leadership style of its leaders. In the immediate aftermath of the fall of the Taliban, Khalili was widely recognised as leader of the party. In April 2002 he flew to Kabul from Bamyan, in a move that shifted the party headquarters to Kabul. He was warmly received by Mohaqiq, who was deputy chair and Planning Minister of the Interim Administration, and other senior figures of the organisation. In the Transitional Administration, Khalili replaced Mohaqiq as a vice-president, becoming the highest Hazara official in the government. Until before the presidential election of 2005, Muhaqiq was at least officially heading the political affairs committee of Hizb-e Wahdat in Kabul. Their relationship, however, soon started unravelling. Apparently, Muhaqiq had adopted a more confrontational approach within the government on the issues of development and reconstruction plans in Hazara areas. It is alleged that his powers as the Minister of Planning were being transferred to the more powerful and assertive finance ministry, under the leadership of the western educated technocrat Ashraf Ghani. Mohaqiq left the cabinet in controversy in 2004. Khalili and Mohaqeq have since engaged in personal rivalry and competition for power within the government as well as for leadership among the Hazaras. Their rivalry came to the fore when Mohaqiq decided to stand as a candidate for presidential elections in 2005 and Khalili ran as the second vice-president with Hamid Karzai. Subsequently, Mohaqiq joined the main opposition alliance, the Understanding Front, led by Yunus Qanuni. By standing in opposition to the government, he championed the rights of Hazaras and continued to undermine Karim Khalili. The personalisation of leadership was not limited to Mohaqiq and Khalili and resulted in the fragmentation of the party into the following four splinter organizations.

1. Hizb-e Wahdat Islami Afghanistan (Abdul Karim Khalili)

2. Hizb-e Wahdat Islami Mardum-e Afghanistan (Mohammad Mohaqiq)

3. Hizb-e Wahdat Milli Islami Afghanistan (Mohammad Akbari)

4. Hizb-e Wahdat Islami Millat-e Afghanistan (Qurban Ali Erfani)

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