The End of Unrest in Faryab: Taliban Fails to Quell Protests

Four days ago, hundreds of residents of Faryab province and Uzbek forces affiliated with the Taliban protested over the detention of Makhdoom Mohammad Alam Rabbani, a senior Taliban commander from the Uzbek ethnic group. After Makhdoom Alam was arrested by the Taliban’s intelligence forces, protestors rallied in Maimana to demand his release. The protests ended with the mediation of the commander of the 209th Al-Fatah Army Corps, the governor of Jawzjan, the Agriculture Minister, some officials from the Taliban-led government, and members of the Ulema Council in Faryab.

Abdul Rahman Rashid, the Taliban government’s Minister of Agriculture, said at a public rally on Saturday (January 15th): “Some individuals -in foreign countries- who have also been involved in killing Afghans and destabilizing Afghanistan in the past are plotting to divide the Taliban.”

Rashid added that there were no differences between the Uzbek, Pashtun, and Tajik Taliban, stressing that the situation in the province had returned to normal.

Meanwhile, Ataullah Omari, commander of the Taliban’s 209th Al-Fatah Corps in the north of the country, said: “After the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan, security has been restored and, there are achievements in all spheres. But suddenly, the situation changed in Maimana.” He added that the unrests in Faryab had been provoked from outside. Because, according to him, there is no difference of opinion among the Taliban. “In the future, opportunists will not be allowed to create disputes among Uzbeks, Pashtuns, Tajiks, Turkmen, and others,” he added.

Ghulam Nabi Ghafoori, the deputy head of the Ulema Council in Faryab province, told a rally that people had no right to protest against the Islamic regime. He added that the government has the authority and responsibility to detain, imprison or even fire its agent for his reform. According to him, it is ignorance and stupidity when people turn to ethnic and racial prejudices. “People have the right to politely and respectfully investigate the reason for the arrest of Makhdom Alam, but they are not allowed to demonstrate against the regime,” said the deputy head of the Ulema Council in Faryab.

On the second day of the protests in Maimana, two civilians and three Taliban militants were killed. Before the fall of the previous regime, Makhdoom Alam was in charge of the Taliban’s military in Faryab province. The senior Taliban commander is being detained as some former government officials accuse the Taliban-led government of suppressing and detaining non-Pashtun Taliban militants.

Naqibaullah Faiq, the former governor of Faryab, wrote on his official Facebook page that it was time for the Turks to learn from the past and not to fight under the banner of any fanatic and traitor. Faiq has called on the Uzbek Taliban to secede from the Pashtun Taliban. Otherwise, the Taliban leadership has ordered the Taliban to be cleared of Uzbeks and Turkmen. According to him, Makhdoom Alam was arrested on the orders of Mullah Fazel Akhund, the Taliban’s deputy defense minister.

On the other hand, the deputy head of the Ulema Council in Faryab criticized the Taliban, saying, “Hundreds of local police have trusted the Taliban and joined their ranks.” The cleric noted that hundreds of militias (local police), including the Taliban, were involved in spoiling the Maimana protests.

Meanwhile, Hafizullah Pahlawan, the Taliban governor for Faryab, said Maimana had been in a state of emergency for the past three days. According to him, the situation is now back to normal and, government offices reopened.