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Voting in new leader deepens cracks in Jamiat-i-Islami

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KABUL: Senior members of the Jihadi party named Jamiat-i-Islami Afghanistan (JIA) are wrangling for the chairmanship after some party figures decided this week not to recognize Salahuddin Rabbani as chief of the party anymore.

The decision was made in a meeting led by Atta Noor, the party’s chief executive, during which Enayatullah Shadab, a senior member of the party, was chosen as acting head to lead the political movement until the election of a new chairman.

“The decision will stand until a congress of the party,” Hafiz Mansoor, a member of Jamiat said. He added that the decision was made to keep unity in the party.

Rabbani was absent in the meeting.

In reaction to the decision, Rabbani said Friday that he rejected it, accusing his fellows in the party of misusing the party’s reputation. Rabbani announced that he suspended some key members of the party.

“To end misusing the name and title of the party, the membership of Atta Noor, Younus Qanooni, Kalim Naqibi, Waqef Hakimi, Enayatullah Shadab and Sattar Morad is suspended,” Rabbani said on Facebook. He accused the suspended members of unpleasant dealing from the address of the party.

Separately, Ahmad Zia Massoud, deputy head of JIA, rejected the decision for Rabbani’s ouster as a “coup de tat”.

“What they (Rabbani’s rivals in party) did is against all principles of the party. This is a coup de tat with political motivations. Mr. Rabbani will remain at the top of the party and we want an independent presence of Jamiat in the peace negotiations since we have already said that a fraudulent government is unacceptable,” said Masssoud, who was given a high position by Ghani in his first government (2014-2019).

Rabbani is son of JIA’ founder Burhanuddin Rabbani who established the party in exile in Pakistan and was killed in a suicide attack in his residence in Kabul in 2011. Rabbani has been running the party since his father’s death.

Rabbani opposed the deal between President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah in last year’s election.  

Based on the deal that was signed in May, Ghani agreed to include Abdullah in his government.

Rabbani calls the September presidential poll as fraudulent and asks for basic changes in the system from presidential to parliamentary.

Most of Jamiat members including Atta Noor who was considered one of Ghani’s toughest critics and had statements against him, came and supported the results of election.

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