This document is dated February 16, 1996, and discusses divisions within the Taliban, and relations between the Taliban and Iran.
SUBJECT: AFGHANISTAN: TALIBAN OFFICIAL SAYS DIVISIONS WITHIN MOVEMENT GROWING; PREDICTS "FIGHT WITH IRAN"
1. (U) CLASSIFIED BY ERIC A. KUNSMAN, POLITICAL COUNSELOR, EMBASSY ISLAMABAD. REASON: 1.5 (D).
2. (C) SUMMARY: [redacted] SAYS DIVISIONS WITHIN THE TALIBAN ARE GROWING AS A RESULT OF DISAGREEMENTS OVER GOALS. HE CLAIMED TALIBAN LEADER MOHAMMED OMAR WANTS TO BECOME RULER OF AFGHANISTAN AND IS NOT INTERESTED IN COMPROMISE WHILE "MANY" OTHERS IN THE MOVEMENT WANT TO COOPERATE WITH THE U.N. PLAN FOR AN INTERIM COUNCIL. THE HARD-LINERS ARE STRENGTHENED BY SUPPORT FROM PAKISTAN AND AFGHAN TRADERS, WHILE THE MODERATES ARE DENIED AID. [redacted] PREDICTS HEAVY FIGHTING WILL START IN WESTERN AFGHANISTAN BEFORE KABUL, AND CLAIMS THE TALIBAN ARE READY TO DEFEND THEMSELVES AGAINST IRAN, THROUGH CROSS-BORDER OPERATIONS IF NECESSARY. END SUMMARY.
3. (U) POLOFF MET FEBRUARY 16 WITH [extensively redacted] WHO CLAIMED TO HAVE PARTICIPATED IN MANY TALIBAN MILITARY CAMPAIGNS, INCLUDING THE TAKING OF HERAT, PROVIDED HIS VIEW ON CURRENT CONDITIONS WITHIN THE TALIBAN MOVEMENT.
TWO MAIN SOURCES OF DIVISION
4. (C) [redacted] SAID THERE WERE TWO MAIN CAUSES OF DIVISION WITHIN TALIBAN RANKS: FIRST, THE AMBITION OF LEADER MOHAMMED OMAR AND, SECOND, DISAGREEMENT OVER NEGOTIATING WITH OTHER FACTIONS. ON THE FIRST ISSUE, [redacted] COMPLAINED THAT MOHAMMED OMAR'S PRINCIPLE GOAL SEEMED TO BE TO BECOME THE LEADER OF ALL AFGHANISTAN. "IN HIS DREAM, OMAR SAW HIMSELF BECOMING THE RULER OF AFGHANISTAN AND HE DEEPLY BELIEVES THIS IS HIS DESTINY," [redacted] REMARKED. ALTHOUGH ALL DECISIONS OF THE TALIBAN NEED TO BE APPROVED BY THE SHURA, [redacted] SAID OMAR HAD CONSIDERABLE INFLUENCE WHEN THE SHURA WAS DIVIDED BECAUSE IT WAS HIS VISION WHICH CREATED THE MOVEMENT. "HE IS THE INITIATOR OF THE TALIBAN, SO WHEN THERE ARE QUESTIONS, HE IS OFTEN DEFERRED TO," [redacted] NOTED. POLOFF SAID SOME TALIBAN HAD COMMENTED THAT OMAR LACKED CHARISMA AND ASKED HOW HE MAINTAINED HIS INFLUENCE. [redacted] RESPONDED THAT IT WAS PRECISELY OMAR'S LACK OF EDUCATION AND HIS LOW STATUS WHICH GAVE HIM CACHET AS A MYSTIC/VISIONARY. "HE IS FROM THE KHOTAK TRIBE, WHICH IS NOT VERY IMPORTANT -- THIS INSULATES HIM FROM THE TRIBAL RIVALRY WITHIN TALIBAN," [redacted] ADDED.
5. (C) THE SECOND CAUSE OF DIVISION WITHIN THE TALIBAN, [redacted] CLAIMED, RESULTED FROM AMBASSADOR MESTIRI'S NOVEMBER 16, 1995, MEETING WITH SHURA REPRESENTATIVES IN KANDAHAR. [redacted] SAID "EVERYONE BUT OMAR" WANTED TO DISCUSS MESTIRI'S PROPOSAL FOR A COUNCIL; "WE ALL HAD NAMES WHICH WE WANTED TO PUT FORWARD, BUT OMAR FLATLY REJECTED THE IDEA BECAUSE IT DID NOT AGREE WITH HIS VISION OF HIMSELF AS AFGHANISTAN'S RULER." [redacted] CHARACTERIZED OMAR'S REFUSAL TO EVEN DISCUSS THE U.N. PLAN AS "AGAINST THE TALIBAN MISSION." HE SAID THE TALIBAN HAD BEEN CREATED TO BE AN ANTI-IKHWANI/RADICAL ISLAMIST FORCE AND TO COMBAT IRANIAN AND RUSSIAN INFLUENCE. A COUNCIL, [redacted] STATED, WAS NOT NECESSARILY IN CONFLICT WITH THIS MISSION, BUT OMAR HAD "CHANGED THE AGENDA." BY REJECTING THE U.N. PROPOSAL, OMAR HAD DECIDED TO PIT THE TALIBAN "AGAINST THE WORLD," HE COMPLAINED. DESPITE THE DESIRE OF THE SHURA TO DISCUSS THE U.N. IDEA, [redacted] WHO SAID HE ATTENDED THE MEETING, CLAIMED THAT OMAR SIMPLY INSTRUCTED KANDAHAR GOVERNOR MOHAMMED HASSAN TO "GET RID OF MESTIRI FAST," WHICH THE GOVERNOR THEN DID.
Omar had a vision of himself as a ruler of Afghanistan.
To be fair, if he really beleived he was receiving a vision from his Creator, then it is understandable why he would not want to compromise.
But, it sure is convenient how Omar had a vision of himself seizing power in Afghanistan, by bribery (with money from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and supposedly Afghan business interests), and by armed conquest.
Didn't Mohammad receive similar, convenient visions, in the early days of Islam on the Arabian peninsula?
Notice, too, the phraseology (emphasis added): "He said the Taliban had been created to be an anti-Ikhwani/radical Islamist force and to combat Iranian and Russian influence."
If the Taliban "had been created", then by whom?
Continued in Part 25.