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Taleban clash with Hezb-e Eslami, 60 dead

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  • Taleban clash with Hezb-e Eslami, 60 dead

    This is very significant in my view.

    Taliban clashes with rival Afghan militants kill 60

    At least 60 militants have been killed in fighting between the Taliban and a rival Islamic group, Hezb-e-Islami, in northern Afghanistan, police say.

    The fighting in Baghlan province erupted on Saturday morning. A number of civilians died in the crossfire.

    The rivalry between former allies seems to concern control of local villages and taxes, a BBC correspondent says.

    Afghan officials also said dozens of Hezb-e-Islami fighters had defected to the government during the fighting.

    Hezb-e-Islami, loyal to former PM Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, is the second biggest militant group in Afghanistan.

    The two groups have previously been allied in their opposition to Afghan's central government and foreign forces.

    Baghlan's police chief told the BBC that 40 Hezb-e-Islami fighters had been killed, as well as 20 Taliban militants.

    The Taliban are said to have detained at least 50 members of Hezb-e-Islami, Gen Akhbar said.

    Some Hezb-e-Islami militants were surrounded by Taliban forces, a regional police spokesman, Laal Mohammad Ahmadzai, told the AFP news agency.

    He said 11 Hezb-e-Islami commanders and 68 of their men had defected to the government.

    Estimates of the number from other Afghan officials ranged between 50 and 100.

    Fighting is taking place in an area where the Afghan government has little or no presence on the ground, says the BBC's Chris Morris in Kabul.

    'Global terrorist'

    The US labelled Gulbuddin Hekmatyar a "specially designated global terrorist" in 2003.

    His mujahideen faction was one of the groups that helped end the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

    In the unrest that followed in the early 1990s, his group of fundamentalist Sunni Muslim Pashtuns clashed violently with other mujahideen in the struggle for control of Kabul. Mr Hekmatyar served twice as prime minister during that period.

    Hezb-e Islami was blamed for much of the terrible death and destruction of that time, which led many ordinary Afghans to welcome the emergence of the Taliban. They forced Mr Hekmatyar and his men to flee Kabul in 1996.

    After the Taliban were overthrown, he pledged allegiance to the new Western-backed administration in Kabul. However, after an alleged anti-government plot by Hezb-e Islami was uncovered, the group took up arms and allied itself to the Taliban.

    Although his position has been weakened in recent years, he remains a key figure in the insurgency, especially in the east and parts of the north.
    Afghan militants battle Taliban, defect to gov't
    By RAHIM FAIEZ (AP) – 43 minutes ago

    KABUL — Dozens of fighters died in armed clashes between the Taliban and another Islamist group in northeastern Afghanistan, and some militants defected to Afghan government forces Sunday as battles raged, officials said.

    Fighters for the Hezb-e-Islami militia, loyal to regional warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, battled the Taliban with rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns in Baghlan province, provincial Gov. Mohammad Akbar Barakzai said.

    At least 50 militants and an unknown number of civilians have died in the fighting that started Saturday morning and was continuing through Sunday night. Officials said the battles were apparently over control of several villages where the government has almost no presence.

    Violent clashes between anti-government factions are rare, although various loosely allied militias have their own agendas and power struggles are relatively common.

    It was not immediately clear whether the clashes were a localized militant dispute or represented signs of a rift between the Islamist insurgent groups that fight international forces in the country and the government of President Hamid Karzai, who has appealed to various militant factions to enter peace talks.

    Provincial police Chief Kabir Andarabi said more than 100 Hezb-e-Islami fighters, under pressure from the combat, pledged Sunday to join the government forces that have massed on the edge of the battle zone. The regional police commander, Gen. Ghulam Mushtaba Patang, put the number of defecting fighters at 50 but said the situation was in flux.

    "It is correct that Hezb-e-Islami has come under pressure from the Taliban and some of them have already joined with the government," Patang said.

    He said police amassed in the area had set up mobile hospitals and were offering medical care to any fighters willing to defect.

    Provincial deputy police chief Zalmai Mangal said reports from the area indicate that at least 50 militant fighters were dead, 35 from Hezb-e-Islami and 15 from the Taliban. It was unclear how many total militants were involved, he said by telephone from a district near the fighting where government forces have rushed to observe and try to help any wounded civilians.

    Police had not yet entered the area of the clashes as Sunday night, but were observing and awaiting central government orders, Patang said. He said civilian casualties were almost certain, but there was no government estimate for them yet.

    It was unclear what touched off the fighting, but Mangal said that Taliban fighters reportedly had recently moved into villages that traditionally were controlled by Hezb-e-Islami.

    Barakzai said the fighting centered around five to six villages west of Baghlan-e-Jadid district in the central part of the province. He also reported 50 militants killed, but did not have a breakdown of the casualties.

    Baghlan and nearby Kunduz and Kunar provinces are considered the stronghold of insurgents loyal to Hekmatyar, a warlord who is allied with al-Qaida and whose fighters have for years operated alongside the Taliban.

    Insurgent groups now control large swaths of Afghanistan's countryside, and NATO and Afghan troops have begun a series of offensives in the country's south to take back major population areas in hopes of allowing an effective civilian government to take root. The allied operations are not expected to target the northeastern mountains.
    Last edited by 1980s; 07 Mar 10,, 18:26.

  • #2
    Hezb-I-Islami

    These guys have been wild-cards going at least back to the days of the Afghan-Soviet war. They carried a reputation then as more aggressive against their so-called mujahideen allies than in showing any interest fighting the Soviets.

    Today, the weak link in the anti-government insurgents has long been reputed to be Hekmatyar. It's no secret that both sides have been involved in discussions for some time with rumors that Hekmatyar would be offered "rehabilitation" in KSA for a defined period before returning to his beloved Afghanistan to continue his meddlesome ways.

    Elements of Hezb-I-Islami are even now present in the current Afghan governmental coalition. Given the corrosion of command that we've recently seen within the taliban ranks, especially their leadership (to include Baghlan and Kunduz provinces) their always-tenuous relationship with Hezb-I-Islami is undoubtedly exacerbated.

    This will only make that relationship worse. There's no love lost amongst these competing factions.
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    • #3
      From what I understood, Hezb-e-Islami is in the government coalition, and not loyal to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Their radical off-shoot, Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) is loyal to him and are in active rebellion.

      I'm a bit confused to which group the articles are referring to, at times.
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