Afghan resistance chafes at UN-sponsored accord
The announced settlement on Afghanistan at the United Nations-sponsored peace talks in Geneva has aroused both bitter condemnation and uncertainty among resistance leaders. It fails, they say, to provide a realistic solution to the war.
The pact, in which the United States and the Soviet Union act as guarantors between Pakistan and the Moscow-backed Kabul regime, is to be signed later this week.
Hekmatyar Gulbuddin, current chairman of the seven-party resistance alliance in Peshawar, vehemently criticized the four-point Geneva accords as ``ineffective'' and ``flawed.'' (US views on accords vary, Page 4.)
The fundamentalist leader of the Hezb-i-Islami (one of two factions with the same name) resistance party, said that in its present form, the agreement ``can neither result in the just and lasting solution of the crisis, nor can it terminate the war, nor can it result in a voluntary return of refugees.''
Mr. Hekmatyar reiterated the determination of the Afghan resistance to fight until the present communist regime in Kabul is overthrown and the last Soviet soldier has been withdrawn.
Guerrilla sources have expressed uncertainty as to whether the Geneva accords will result in reduced support for their cause. Despite reports that Washington and Moscow have agreed to ``symmetry'' - the term used to describe continued arms supplies by the superpowers to their allies - the resistance says it does not know if the Central Intelligence Agency will keep up its covert backing.
``Quite frankly,'' said one guerrilla spokesman in Peshawar, ``we have no idea what America's real policy is. We keep hearing different things.''
There is great concern that a cutoff of ``stinger'' anti-aircraft missiles will seriously hamper guerrilla operations or prevent the mujahideen from protecting civilian populations in so-called ``liberated'' areas. Most resistance party officials say no refugees will return until the regime has been overthrown. But relief workers say groups will go back to their villages in ``quiet'' areas as soon as a withdrawal begins.
The prospects of partial, or total withdrawal of the 115,000-120,000 Soviet occupation troops in Afghanistan, which Kremlin leader Mikhail Gorbachev said will begin on May 15, have prompted the Afghan resistance, international relief agencies, and diplomats to warn that the fighting is far from over.
While the signed accords may serve as the basis for a future settlement, noted a Western diplomat, ``Geneva has not produced a peace agreement.'' If anything, observers say, fighting will intensify.
As a US AID coordinator commented: ``Few people are under any illusion around here that the fighting will stop just because they are signing in Geneva and the Russians say they are leaving. ... Yet whenever we talk with Washington they do not seem to understand that. We are still going to see a lot of brutal war even if refugees start heading back.''
There also seems little chance of a political compromise between the communist Kabul regime and the resistance - either as part of an interim coalition government or the present regime's national reconciliation program launched last year. Resistance commanders from different groups interviewed were virtually unanimous in their refusal to have anything to do with communists.
As with numerous other resistance sources consulted in recent weeks, Hekmatyar argues that only if the two ``real sides who are confronting each other on the battlefield'' - the Soviets and the Afghan resistance - are directly involved in negotiations, can a durable peace settlement be worked out.
Most indications suggest that the bulk of the Afghan people consider the Kabul regime of Najibullah nothing but a hated minority surrogate faction with no power to represent their country at Geneva.
``Do people in America and Europe really believe that we will allow the communist puppets to speak for Afghanistan?'' declared Masoud Khalili, a member of the seven-party resistance alliance.
Further, few members of the Afghan resistance are willing to accept the right of the Pakistani government to represent their views, despite the way the war has affected Pakistan. At present, Pakistan is providing haven to an estimated 3 million Afghan refugees as well as facilities to guerrilla organizations fighting inside Afghanistan. The mujahideen feel that neither Islamabad, the UN, nor anyone else can guarantee the implementation inside Afghanistan of an accord not backed by the people.
Reports of increased fighting have filtered into Peshawar, with the mujahideen taking government security posts or hitting Soviet supply convoys.
Resistance groups are known to be infiltrating small units of mujahideen trained in urban guerrilla warfare into Kabul and other Soviet-held towns.
Amid growing unease in the Afghan capital as the Soviets make moves to leave, increasing numbers of senior Army officers have apparently taken up contact with the resistance.