Islamic Unity of Afghanistan Mujahideen
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The Islamic Unity of Afghanistan Mujahideen, also known as the Seven Party Mujahideen Alliance or Peshawar Seven, was an Afghan alliance formed in either 1981 or 1985 (see Alliance Formation below) by the seven Afghan mujahideen parties fighting against the Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan forces in the Soviet-Afghan War. The alliance sought to function as a united diplomatic front towards the world opinion, and sought representation in the United Nations and Organisation of the Islamic Conference.
The constituents of the Peshawar Seven alliance fell into two categories, the political Islamists: Khalis faction (Khalis), Hezbi Islami (Hekmatyar), Jamiat-i-Islami (Rabbani), and Islamic Union for the Liberation of Afghanistan (Sayyaf), and the traditionalists: National Islamic Front for Afghanistan (Gailani), Afghanistan National Liberation Front (Mojaddedi), and Revolutionary Islamic Movement (Mohammadi).
All of the groups were Sunni Muslims, and all were majority Pashtun except Jamiat-i-Islami, which was predominantly Tajik. Another, smaller but dominant Mujahideen alliance, was composed of mainly Shi'a Muslims. It was named the Tehran Eight – an alliance of eight Shia Afghan factions, supported by Iran.
Although Islamic Unity of Afghanistan Mujahideen alliance took its formal shape in the mid-1980s, it had de facto existed as a political bloc since May 1979, when the Pakistani government decided to limit the flow of foreign financial aid, mainly from the United States (under the Reagan Doctrine) and Saudi Arabia, to the said seven organizations, thus cutting off monetary supply to nationalist and leftwing resistance groups.
Though the 2 primary scholars on this issue agree that the coalition was founded, under pressure from the United States, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, as a coalition of groups fighting against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, there are disparate claims about when the coalition was formed, and who was responsible for funding it. According to Tom Lansford, the author of A bitter harvest: US foreign policy and Afghanistan, the group was formed in 1985 and financed by Saudis. However, Vijay Prashad, Director of the International Studies Program at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, asserts that the foundation occurred earlier, in 1981, and specifically cites Osama bin Laden as one of the primary Saudi financiers.
Members of the alliance
There were seven members of the Mujahedeen Alliance of Afghanistan, a predominantly Sunni Islamic union, with one Sufi order organization member. It consisted of:
- Khalis faction – led by Khalis;
- Hezbi Islami – led by Hekmatyar;
- Jamiat-i-Islami – led by Rabbani
- Islamic Union for the Liberation of Afghanistan – led by Sayyaf;
- National Islamic Front for Afghanistan – led by Gailani;
- Afghanistan National Liberation Front – led by Mojaddedi;
- Islamic and National Revolution Movement of Afghanistan – led by Mohammadi.
- Vijay Prashad. "War Against the Planet". CounterPunch.
The US-Saudi dominance in funding enabled them to choose amongst the various exiled forces -- they, along with the Pakistanis, chose seven parties in 1981 that leaned more towards theocratic fascism than toward secular nationalism. One of the main financiers was the Saudi businessman, Osama bin Laden. Five years later, these seven parties joined the Union of Mujahidin of Afghanistan.
- Rohan Gunaratna (2002). Inside Al Qaeda: global network of terror. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-12692-2.
- Tom Lansford (2003). A bitter harvest: US foreign policy and Afghanistan. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7546-3615-1.
Under pressure from the United States, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the main mujahideen parties joined together to form the Islamic Union of Mujahideen of Afghanistan in May 1985. The alliance was led by a general council which included Hekmatyr, Rabbani, and Abd-ur-Rabb-ur-Rasul Sayyaf, the leader of the Islamic Union for the Liberation of Afghanistan which was established and funded by the Saudis.
- Collins, George W. (March–April 1986). "The War in Afghanistan". Air University Review. Retrieved 2009-03-27.
- Hilali, A. Z. (2005). US-Pakistan relationship: Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-7546-4220-6.
- Ruttig, Thomas. Islamists, Leftists – and a Void in the Center. Afghanistan's Political Parties and where they come from (1902-2006) (PDF). Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. Retrieved 2009-03-27.
- Kaplan, Robert D. Soldiers of God: With the Mujahidin in Afghanistan. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990. ISBN 0-395-52132-7
- Weisman, Steven R. "Rebel Rivalry is Hampering Afghan Talks", The New York Times, March 1, 1988.