New developments in Afghanistan

Daily Times, 9 March 2010

The defection of a large number of commanders and fighters of the Hizb-i-Islami to the Karzai government is a significant development and the first concrete success of Kabul's extension of an olive branch to the militants. Hizb-i-Islami's faction led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is the second largest insurgent group in Afghanistan, which has been carrying out militant actions in alliance with the Taliban against the Karzai government since it first assumed office in 2002. The infighting between the Taliban and Hizb-i-Islami, which on Sunday killed 79 in Baghlan, one of the northern provinces of Afghanistan, indicates not only the Taliban's ire against their erstwhile ally, but also their spread to the north, where they have gained considerable strength to be able to carry out a major attack. According to the BBC, the fighting, which took place in Jangal Bagh area, seems to have been ignited by attempts to gain control over a village and its taxation.

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