The National Front in Afghan Politics: An Exploratory Study

Vishal Chandra is Research Fellow at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile
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  • July 2009

    The Jabhe-e-Melli or the National Front (NF) is largely considered inconsequential in Afghan politics. It is often dismissed as a loose mlange of elements from the former United Front or the Northern Alliance, some ex-communists, and former royalists, which is bound to wither away sooner than later. The Front is said to represent the interests of a political class which is disgruntled with the politics and the policies of President Hamid Karzai, and which is struggling to preserve its erstwhile status and relevance in the power politics of Afghanistan. The article posits that the NF, with all its diversity and contradictions, has the potential to emerge as an important player both in case of a widened Afghan conflict and in any effort aimed at national reconciliation. As international attention remains glued to the growing tension along and across the Durand Line, it is pertinent to keep track of the politics of the NF. This article attempts to explore the way politics of the marginalized non-Pashtun leadership is shaping up in view of challenges both from Kabul and the Taliban.