What we examine here today are excerpts from the 050408Z NOV 94 US State Department Weekly South Asia Activity Report, November 4, 1994, which provides an overview and run-down of the events in South Asia for the week. Consequently, only the sections that appear most pertinent or interesting are reproduced here, but they are reproduced in the order in which they are found in the report. Feel free to go to the link and review the entire file.
(C) AFGHANISTAN/PAKISTAN - THE AFGNAN WAY TO CENTRAL ASIA: THE GOP HAS ALLOCATED USD 1.66 MILLION FOR SUPERFICIAL REPAIRS OF THE 800 KM ROAD LINKING PAKISTAN AND TURKMENISTAN. AFGHAN TRIBAL CONTRACTORS WILL UNDERTAKE THE REPAIRS, AND BE ENTITLED TO LEVY A CUSTOMS DUTY ON COMMERCIAL GOODS. INTERIOR MINISTER BABAR AND A VISITING GROUP OF WESTERN ENVOYS, INCLUDING AMBASSADOR MONJO, SAW PROGRESS IN RECONSTRUCTION AND STABILITY NEAR HERAT, BUT NOTED CONTINUING INSTABILITY IN KANDAHAR DURING A SHORT STOP THERE. WHILE THE ECONOMIC PROSPECTS OF THE LAND ROUTE APPEAR MARGINAL, POLITICAL AND OTHER FACTORS MAY BE CONTRIBUTING TO THE GOP'S INTEREST IN RE-ESTABLISHING THE LINK TO CENTRAL ASIA. (KARACHI 5156, ISLAMABAD 10272)
"GOP" here means Government of Pakistan.
As anticipated by the comments in Part 1, the GOP was looking to re-open and improve the road leading from Pakistan through Afghanistan to the Central Asian republics.
Notice that at the time it was assessed that the economic prospects of the route were "marginal", but that other factors may have been involved.
I wonder if they were considering the long-term plan that Islamabad likely had at the time to open roads in conjunction with their plan to improve the port facilities in Gwadar.
Other factors may have included a desire to bring Central Asian oil and gas to Western & world markets without having to depend on Russia, Iran, etc., for permission to transit their territory. An upgraded and secure road through Afghani territory would provide the perfect right-of-way for a pipeline.
(U) AFGHANISTAN - SHAKY TAJIK BORDER CEASE-FIRE EXTENDED: TAJIK GOVERNMENT AND OPPOSITION NEGOTIATORS IN ISLAMABAD AGREED TO EXTEND THE TWO WEEK CEASE-FIRE ALONG THE AFGHAN-TAJIK BORDER UNTIL FEBRUARY 1995. TWENTY THREE INCIDENTS OF CROSS-BORDER FIRING OR INCURSIONS HAVE BEEN REPORTED SINCE THE CEASE-FIRE WENT INTO EFFECT OCTOBER 20, ACCORDING TO RUSSIAN MEDIA SOURCES. (AP, INTERFAX)
It is worth recalling that after the Soviet forces withdrew from Afghanistan, Tajikistan went through a period of instability, as the holy war moved northward on the heels of the retreating Soviet Army.
(C) AFGHANISTAN - MESTIRI UPBEAT, MOVING AHEAD: MESTIRI IS BEGINNING PRELIMINARY DISCUSSIONS WITH AFGHANS ON FORMING AN INTERIM RULING COUNCIL FOLLOWING HIS SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS INSIDE AFGHANISTAN WITH RABBANI, HEKMATYAR, ISMAIL KHAN, MASOOD, DOSTAM, AND OTHERS. ABDUL HAQ AND PIR GAILANI WILL LIKELY CHAIR MESTIRI'S WORKING GROUPS ON SECURITY AND POLITICAL LEGITIMACY, RESPECTIVELY. HOWEVER, THREE PRO-RABBANI PASHTUN ISLAMIST LEADERS (SAYYAF, KHALIS, AND MOHAMMADI) OPPOSE MESTIRI'S EFFORTS. (ISLAMABAD 10418)
Efforts were being made in Kabul to consolidate authority under a coalition government, but, as we now know, that effort was ultimately overcome by the events beginning at the time in Kandahar Province.
(U) PAKISTAN - UNION TEXAS TO INVEST IN NEW OIL/GAS EXPLORATION: UNION TEXAS, ALREADY PRODUCING OVER ONE-THIRD OF PAKISTAN'S CRUDE OIL, HAS ANNOUNCED PLANS TO INVEST USD 170 MILLION OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS FOR ADDITIONAL OIL AND GAS EXPLORATION. THE COMPANY THINKS HIGHLY OF THE GOP'S NEW PETROLEUM POLICY, WHICH PROVIDES BETTER INCENTIVES FOR OIL AND GAS FINDS. (KARACHI 5238)
There still are undeveloped petroleum reserves in Afghanistan. Here we see news about how Pakistan was successfully promoting exploration in Pakistani territory.
Information about Union Texas Petroleum.
(U) AFGHANISTAN - BATTLE FOR THE PAKISTANI CONVOY: THE TEST-CASE CONVOY FROM PAKISTAN TO CENTRAL ASIA HAS BECOME THE FOCUS OF A SHARP CLASH IN KANDAHAR PROVINCE BETWEEN FOUR LOCAL COMMANDERS AND THE "TALEBS" (STUDENT MILITIAMEN FROM A SMALL PAKISTANI RELIGIOUS PARTY WHO HAVE TAKEN OVER THE SPIN BOLDAK CROSSING POINT ON THE AFGHAN-PAKISTAN BORDER). THE CLASH HAS UNITED THE RIVAL AFGHAN COMMANDERS, NORMALLY AT EACH OTHERS' THROATS. (PAB/VOA TELCON)
(C) AFGHANISTAN - NEW FIGHTING AND NEW FORCES IN KANDAHAR: FIGHTING ERUPTED THE WEEK OF NOVEMBER 1 IN KANDAHAR PROVINCE BETWEEN AN ALLIANCE OF ESTABLISHED HIG AND NIFA COMMANDERS AND A NEW, HITHERTO UNKNOWN GROUP CALLED THE TALIBAN ("SEEKERS"). THE TALIBAN ARE A WELL-ARMED GROUP OF YOUNG RELIGIOUS STUDENTS APPARENTLY MOTIVATED BY FRUSTRATION WITH THE PARTY LEADERS' FAILURE TO ACHIEVE PEACE AND BY THE CORRUPTION OF LOCAL COMMANDERS. THE GROUP'S IMMEDIATE GOAL APPEARS TO BE REOPENING THE CHAMAN-KANDAHAR HIGHWAY, WHICH HAS SPARKED THE RECENT FIGHTING AND LED MANY TO SUSPECT THE TALIBAN ARE SUPPORTED BY THE GOP AND BUSINESS INTERESTS SEEKING TO OPEN TRADE ROUTES FROM PAKISTAN TO CENTRAL ASIA. (PESHAWAR 1030)
These last two excerpts touch on the appearance of the Taliban on the scene in Kandahar. See Part 1 for more information.