Recently a new photo surfaced of Dr. Abdullah, Chairman, High Council For National Reconciliation Of Afghanistan with the Indian MEA S.Jaishankar.Also present were NSA Ajit Doval, COAS General Narvane and the CDS General Rawat. The dignitaries present are enough to signal the importance of this meeting. Who is Abdullah Abdullah and why was he here? Why is he so important for the peace process in Afghanistan? To know that we will have to delve into his and Afghanistan’s brutal past, filled with bloodshed and carnage of various civil wars that have been ravaging this country since the 80s.
A WARRIOR MEDIC
Born in 1960, in Kabul, he is the son of Ghulam Mahyoddin Zamaryalay who was a senator in the final years of the rule of King Zahir Shah. His father used to hold an official post in Panjshir province. He studied ophthalmology at Kabul University, after graduating high school and worked at the Noor Hospital, Kabul.
When the Soviet invasion began in the 80s, he used to coordinate treatment and healthcare for resistance fighters and civilians in Afghanistan.
During those years and the subsequent civil war, he became a close friend and adviser to Northern Alliance’s famous leader Ahmed Shah Massoud. He also served as the Foreign minister in the short-lived provisional government led by Northern Alliance before the Taliban took control in 1996. After that, he and Massud kept fighting the Taliban till the death of Massud and the ultimate collapse of Taliban rule in Afghanistan.
AFTER THE FALL OF TALIBAN
After the Taliban fell, a new government was formed under President Hamid Karzai in which he served as Foreign Minister. He resigned in 2006 due to some differences and contested as an independent candidate in the 2009 Presidential elections.
Following the 2014 elections, he was sworn in as Chief Executive, a role with similar powers as Prime Minister.
2019 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS
Dr.Abdullah again contested elections against the incumbent President Ghani in 2019. After a bitter feud between him and Ghani regarding election frauds and the threat of forming another parallel government beside Ghani, a deal was reached where Abdullah was appointed as the Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation which is expected to lead the intra-Afghan peace talks with the Taliban. He holds a large sway among the Tajik people of Afghanistan partly due to his works as a medic in the panjshir valley dominated by Tajiks and partly due to the fact that his mother was an ethnic Tajik. He has been described as a soft-spoken multilingual proficient in Dari, Pashto, English, Arabic, and French.
VIEWS REGARDING TALIBAN INSURGENCY
He is regarded as a hardliner regarding the issue of Taliban insurgency. To quote-
“ I should say that the Taliban are not fighting in order to be accommodated. They are fighting in order to bring the state down. So it’s a futile exercise, and it’s just misleading. … There are groups that will fight to death. Whether we like to talk to them or we don’t like to talk to them, they will continue to fight. So, for them, I don’t think that we have a way forward with talks or negotiations or contacts or anything as such. Then we have to be prepared to tackle and deal with them militarily. In terms of the Taliban on the ground, there are lots of possibilities and opportunities that with the help of the people in different parts of the country, we can attract them to the peace process; provided, we create a favorable environment on this side of the line.”
This hardline mindset and the ability to recognize this harsh fact gels well with his other colleague, Marshall Dostum. The recent visits of both of them to India in quick succession also now more or less confirms the shift in Indian policy regarding the peace process in Afghanistan. Only a secure stable Afghanistan can guarantee a long-lasting peaceful atmosphere for the development