Afghan Alliance

  • Share
  • Read Later
KABUL, Afghanistan: Fearing the growing power of Afghanistan's fundamentalist Taliban leaders, three militia chiefs in the nation's northern provinces have formed a formal military alliance. Former military chief Ahmed Shah Massood signed a mutual defense pact Thursday with militia leader Rashid Dostum and Shiite Muslim leader Karim Khalily that establishes a new government covering nine provinces. Massood has been skirmishing with the Taliban since the movement drove Afghanistan's government out of Kabul two weeks ago, and Dostum says he fears he will be next. The men lead a minority population in the north that fears persecution from the Taliban, who are generally Sunni Muslims and members of the nation's ethnic Pashtun majority. The new alliance raises the spectre of a large-scale civil war in a nation that has weathered Soviet occupation, protracted civil war and political infighting over the last two decades. Mark Coatney