Sher Mohammad Akhundzada

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Sher Mohammed Akhundzada (also known as Sher Ahmed Akhundzada) is a tribal leader who was the governor of Helmand in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2005.

Background[edit]

He is from the Akhundzadas family in Northern Helmand who played an important role from the very beginning of the local response to the Communist Party (Hizb-i Demokratik-e Khalq (HDK)) "revolution" in the southwest. Belonging to main tribe of Helmand, the Alizais, they hailed from Musa Qala district in northern Helmand.[1] While in the new districts of Nad Ali and Nawa, where farmers tended to be immigrants from mixed tribal backgrounds and tribal rhetoric had little impact, in the other districts tribal networks remained much more solid, especially in the north. It was first Mullah Mohammad Nasim Akhundzada who became a prominent and leading Jihadi commander in Helmand. The information available on Nasim is contradictory. He appears to have been a charismatic military leader, who could count on a large number of devoted fighters. He is still seen as having led many successful battles against the Russians and Afghan government forces.

Consequently he was able to clear most areas of Helmand, Oruzgan, Farah and Kandahar (Southern Afghanistan) from Red Army and their partners.

After defeating the Red Army, he announced to take steps in eliminating illicit poppy cultivation in the area calling its usage as illegal in Islam and reasoning its cultivation for negatively affecting the society. At that point, Afghanistan was the core attention point of the International Community and hence his step of eliminating poppy was highly appreciated.

Lately he was appointed Commander in Chief (Loy Drastiz) of Mujahidin National Army at the Mujahidin Interim Government by the Mujahidin Leaders as per the conference of the Peshawar.

The aforementioned issue of poppy rose the oppositions of universal mafia, drug-traffickers and national warlords (smuggler)s against him. simultaneously he arrived to Peshawar and assaults for killing him were successful on 25-march-1990 with one of his leading commanders Haji Nazar Mohammad of Musa Qala.

His elder brother Major General Haji Mohammd Rasul Akhundzada was chosen as his alternative leader of his army. He was able to capture Lashkar Gah city center of Helmand and was later selected as governor of this province on 13-June-1393 by the central (Kabul) government.

Besides pursuing the manner of Nasim Akhundzada and paying a special attention for the basis remained from previous governments, Rasul Akhundzada attempted for the gas pipeline projects going to Pakistan from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan which could provide a special beneficiary to Afghan government and specially South West region of the country.

He used to have the authority of all southwest region under the coverage of his mandate. He died on 5-sep-1994 due to the cancer sickness he already had.

After him, his younger brother Mola Ghafaar Akhundzada was selected as Helmand governor on 6th Dec- 1994. He was shot by unknown warlords on 18th March 2000 in Quetta City of Pakistan.

Their family series has been disconnected from the government until the Talibans got defeated by present afghan government in support of foreign forces.

Governor of Helmand[edit]

Sher Mohammed Akhundzada was appointed as Governor by the Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2000 following the assassination of his brother, the previous Helmand Governor, in Quetta.

This was the time when son of Mohammad Rasul Akhundzada, Alhaj Sher Mohammad Akhundzada came up with a strong tribal force to Afghanistan and became alternative of his father (Helmand governor) in an occasion that Helmand was a strong base of support for the Taliban in the previous years and felt crucial need in order to regenerate its previous status.

Installed as Helmand governor, he has contributed considerable positive changes particularly in security, education and development which were the top priority requirements. Numbers around 114,000 students (19,000 female) and 2500 teachers (260 female) are estimated as of his leadership time, the unprecedented progress Helmand witnessed in the history of education.

With strong potential of arable lands in, Helmand suffered with cultivation of narcotics once again since the fall of the Taliban and Akhundzada took into account this issue as one of his top priorities as concerns raised from the International Community and Afghan Government on poppy cultivation in Helmand. He launched to stop poppy cultivation in across the country and due to his decisive progress in eliminating poppy cultivation, he achieved a preferential certificate from the Afghan President Hamid Karzai requested by the Ministry of Counter Narcotics.

In general, the period of his leadership in Helmand covered all of the province with high security, peace and stability despite the international military assistance. All this was achieved as a result of maintaining the tribal balance and equitable rights of the communities.

Talking to journalists in Kabul, Shir Muhammad Akhundzada claimed that while he was governor of Helmand for four years, NATO did not drop a single bomb on the province, no civilians were killed, and no districts fell to the Taliban. “If I were still there, I am sure things would be the same as before.”

He has also identified some fundamental agricultural projects to be implemented in Helmand such as excavation of a canal from Kajaki dam to irrigate northern Helmand, construction of an intake on Musa Qala River to irrigate the arable lands and generate electricity, construction of an intake on Helmand river in Kamal Khan to irrigate the unproductive farms which could basically improve lives of the people of Helmand and Nimroz provinces.

Considering the current conditions of Helmand, Afghan politicians and local tribal leaders believe that not only central government and the International Community took these requests into account, but furthermore he has been moved away as result of the attempts of national and international Mafia via accusing him in holding strong links with drug traffickers. They also express the current situation of South and in particular Helmand as the target point of mentioned Mafia. The area is today's most violent, least developed and insecure site on the earth and thousands of foreign military forces are there to bring peace and stability in the area.

Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is widely rumored to have made strong links with Taliban for interference in Afghanistan which has first started to operate in Urozgan, a province bordered with Helmand in the North-East. The Mafia along with the ISI linked Taliban targeted to win Helmand and Kandahar, their previous base and capital city due to the strategic location these provinces own.

He was finally replaced by the president on account of much pressure of foreigners.

Reinstatement[edit]

In 2008, Karzai spoke out in favour of Akhundzada's return, saying “We removed Akhundzada on the allegation of drug-running, and delivered the province to drug runners, the Taliban, to terrorists, to a threefold increase of drugs and poppy cultivation ... Now there are hundreds of tons of heroin in basements across Helmand” However, Britain threatened to withdraw their army from Afghanistan if Akhundzada was reinstated.[2]

2009 Presidential election[edit]

During the 2009 presidential election, Akhundzada and Ahmed Wali Karzai, a half-brother of the incumbent president, were accused of buying up voter registration cards in Helmand Province.[2][3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ (2006) Antionio Giustozzi, Crisis States Research Centre, LSE and Noor Ullah. "'Tribes' and Warlords in Southern Afghanistan, 1980-2005."
  2. ^ a b President Karzai’s supporters ‘buy’ votes for Afghanistan election, The Times, 2009-08-12
  3. ^ "President Karzai’s supporters ‘buy’ votes for Afghanistan election"
Preceded by
None
Governor of Helmand Province, Afghanistan
2001–2005
Succeeded by
Mohammad Daoud