Afghans Applaud an End of Warlords Era


In the last few days, the Afghan special forces have conducted several operations across the country detaining various people including those who have been challenging the writ of the government in their respective provinces.

Afghan Special Forces arrested Nizamuddin Qaisari, the police chief of Qaisar district, of Northern Faryab province on Monday following a security meeting at the first division of 209 Shaheen Corps in the provincial capital city of Maimana.

A statement issued by the corps said that Qaisari, who has close ties to first vice president of Afghanistan General Abdul Rashid Dostum, insulted other officials in the meeting, called them traitors, and threatened of kill and burning government offices. Qaisari was commanding 3000 armed and illegal militias.

In the same day, there were two more operations carried out by the Afghan Security Forces.

In Badakhshan, the special forces detained Nadir Koofi, brother to a Parliamentarian; Fauzia Koofi. He was involved in alleged illegal mining, arbitrary killings, and challenging the writ of the Afghan government. According to local reports, he also fought against the Afghan security forces on multiple occasions.  

In Uruzgan, security forces detained another powerful warlord, Rahimullah – the brother of former Uruzgan police chief Matiullah Khan. He has been transferred to Kabul for interrogation, according to media reports.  Rahimullah was involved in a similar anti-state and anti-laws activities.

Abuse of human rights, threatening rule of law, torturing innocent individuals, challenging the role of the government by these armed groups who have continued holding loyalty to influential warlord leaders in Afghanistan for decades. Since 2003 many reports by national and international human rights watchdogs published on the serious abuse of human rights violations by warlords across Afghanistan.

For example, Gen. Dostum a former warlord who was also accused of serious human rights violation, including detaining, torturing and sexually abusing one of his political rival, Ahmed Ischi. Violation the Afghan constitution and international laws led the judiciary institutions to investigate the case that eventually led Gen. Dostum to flee to Turkey.  

The volition of human rights has been committed for decades in Afghanistan but since the establishment of a new administration in 2003, the violation of human rights has continued and even sharply increased in the last few years. The main cause of the sharp increase of human rights violations by warlords like Qaisari, Rahimullah, and Nadir Koofi was the impunity from the judicial system and lack of law enforcement, after been given legitimacy and support by government elements in the post-Taliban government.

Ordinary Afghans have been demanding and asking the government to take tougher actions against those who abuse and have a history of human rights violations. There is a massive pressure on the Afghan government from the international community to take serious actions against those who are accused of human rights abuses, torturing and detaining innocent people.  

These steps are very significant, because taking actions against those who in the last 14 years abused their powers, violated human rights, creating anarchy and their own political fiefdoms, and have challenged the government.

But now it appears that the government has finally decided to answer the public call and address their concerns by getting rid of warlords who have been in power for decades and continued to increase the sufferings of ordinary people.  Many people believe that if the government keeps challenging and arresting those who have criminal records, it will lead to the decrease of a trust deficit between the people and the government across Afghanistan. If alike operations are continuously carried out, it might have a salutary impact over the Taliban operations as well. It is crystal clear that many people who joined the Taliban ranks across the country were in fact fed up with injustice being done to them by these militias.

These armed illegal groups are seen as a major threat to good governance in the post 9/11 Afghanistan thus, bringing them to justice will bolster government reputation among rural Afghans and weakening a well-established warlords’ networks will pave the way for the implementation of government’s anti-corruption strategy. In addition, it will not only decrease international pressure on president Ghani to carry out necessary reforms but will also help the process of democratization and fulfillment of the commitments the Afghan government made to the international community in several multilateral conferences.

Both the public, established and unestablished elites are of the opinion that the continuation of measures against armed and illegal groups across the country will strengthen the influence of the government on the sub-national level and also give more credibility to the government.


Op-Ed written by Wali R, E. Ghayas and A. Zhman. They are based in Kabul. 



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