Sher Mohammad Akhundzada
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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. 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.
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.
The aforementioned issue of poppy rose the oppositions of universal mafia, drug-traffickers and national warlords 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 1993 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 September 1994 due to the cancer sickness he already had.
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
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, Sher 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.
In late 2005 Sher Mohammad's compound was raided by US forces, which claimed to have found a large stash of opium. Britain—which had been designated the "lead nation" for counter-narcotics activities in Afghanistan—successfully lobbied for Sher Muhammad's deposition before deploying ISAF forces to Helmand.
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.
2009 Presidential election
- (2006) Antionio Giustozzi, Crisis States Research Centre, LSE and Noor Ullah. "'Tribes' and Warlords in Southern Afghanistan, 1980-2005."
- Ilyas Dayee, Mohammad; MacKenzie, Jean; Gardesh, Hafizullah. "Helmand Ex-Governor Joins Karzai Blame Game". Institute for War & Peace Reporting. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
- Suhrke, Astri (2011). When More is Less: The International Project in Afghanistan. London: C. Hurst. p. 107. ISBN 978-1-84904-164-5.
- President Karzai’s supporters ‘buy’ votes for Afghanistan election, The Times, 2009-08-12
- "President Karzai’s supporters ‘buy’ votes for Afghanistan election"
|Governor of Helmand Province, Afghanistan