Leader of Afghan National Liberation Front And Former President of Afghanistan
by Rahimullah Mojaddedi
Prof. Sibghatullah Al-Mojaddedi was born in the year 1926 A.D. in one of the most prestigious and religious families of Afghanistan known as the “Mojaddedi” family.
Following high school education at Habibia High School, the young Mojaddedi entered Al-Azhar University in Cairo where he completed college and post graduate degrees, with honours in Islamic Law and Jurisprudence. Following his return to Afghanistan in 1952, he taught at Kabul University as well as the Higher Institutes of Arabic studies and Teachers’ Training. Being aware of the need to train the younger generation of Muslims, he also extensively lectured at various high schools in Kabul.
As the only aware personality who effectively countered communist activities in the country by enlightening the youth, awakening the intelligentsia and warning the government, the communist elements and their supporters hatched a conspiracy against Prof. Al-Mojaddedi. Thus in 1959, he was imprisoned, without trial, spending over four and a half years in prison cells under the harshest circumstances. He was denied exposure to sunlight for a complete year and remained in solitary confinement for three years. He was also accused of campaigning against the planned visit of Soviet Premier Khoruschev to Afghanistan, which was to take place at the time his arrest. Nevertheless he continued his struggle against communist influence even under the severe conditions of the prison.
In 1972, in his capacity as the most effective and best-recognised religious and scholarly personality of Afghanistan, Prof. Al-Mojaddedi established the movement of Jamiat-e-Ulamae Mohammadi. This movement played a decisive role in awakening the various sectors of the Afghan society all over the country, against communists, their conspiracies and foreign backing.
In 1973, while Prof. Mojaddedi was attending a multinational Islamic conference outside the country, the communist dominated military coup of Mr. Daoud Khan took place in Afghanistan. After spending a year in Saudi Arabia, he proceeded to Denmark where he established the Islamic Cultural Centre of Scandinavia in Copenhagen, several smaller centres of Islamic learning in different parts of Denmark and another Islamic Centre in Oslo, Norway.
Following the bloody communist coup of April 1978, Prof. Al-Mojaddedi, in consultation with prominent Afghan religious and political figures laid the foundation of a common front for resistance, the Afghan National Liberation Front (Jabhai Milli Nejate Afghanistan) and was the first to call the Afghan nation to Jehad in the face of the Soviet aided communist take over of Afghanistan, by announcing a general resistance through-out the country on 13th March 1979.
During the years of the resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Prof. Al-Mojaddedi made considerable efforts and immensely contributed towards unity of Mujahideen.
The Grand Consultative Council convened by the Afghan Mujahideen parties in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, elected Prof. Al-Mojaddedi as the President of the Islamic Interim Government of Afghanistan (famously known as the AIG) on 23rd February 1989. The election of Prof. Al-Mojaddedi in this gathering of over 450 delegates representing a cross-section of the population was a testimony of his popularity and extensive support base in the Mujahid nation of Afghanistan.
Prof. Mojaddedi remained President of AIG for over three years until the Mujahideen leaders reposed their confidence in him under the historic Accord of 24th April 1992 for implementing the transfer of power from the defeated communist regime to the Mujahideen Islamic government. Prof. Al-Mojaddedi took office as the first President of the Islamic State of Afghanistan in Kabul at a very critical and risky juncture of the Afghan history. His short tenure is recognised as one of the most successful and memorable periods of contemporary Afghan history, whereby the nation celebrated a glorious victory of independence and start of a new era.
By adhering to his commitments, Prof. Al-Mojaddedi transferred power at the expiry of his two months presidential tenure to the Leadership Council of Afghanistan on 28th June 1992 in an extremely smooth and peaceful manner, not witnessed in recent times. But unfortunately the concept of a truly Islamic government that could ensure peace, security, stability and prosperity failed to materialise under Prof. Burhanuddin Rabbani.
Throughout the internal fighting, first between the various Mujahideen groups and subsequently between the Northern Alliance and the Taliban, Prof. Mojaddedi endeavoured, as an active mediator, to convince the warring factions and their foreign supporters to abandon armed conflict and initiate meaningful negotiations. Firmly believing that the war for power could not be justified, he established the Association for Peace and National Unity of Afghanistan in January 1990 for unifying the voice of the majority of the Afghan people who were totally against the power struggle. He actively participated in various Afghan peace initiatives, including the Cyprus and Rome Processes. While extending his wise and valuable guidance, he maintained that meaningful cooperation and coordination between the various peace initiatives is imperative for reaching a just solution to the Afghan conflict.
Prof. Al-Mojaddedi could not remain silent in the face of the blatant foreign interferences in the affairs of his country and thus advised the leaders of some neighbouring countries to refrain from indulging in this dangerous and unfair practice.
In view of the larger national interest and despite the unbalanced composition of the Bonn meeting and serious drawbacks in its proceedings, Prof. Al-Mojaddedi supported its outcome which brought Mr. Hamid Karzai as Chairman of the Afghan Interim Authority that took over power in Kabul on 22nd December 2001.
The Emergency Loya Jirga of June 2002 that elected Mr. Hamid Karzai President of the Islamic Transitional Government of Afghanistan was an effort in the right direction but certainly had its serious shortcomings. Despite his reservations, Prof. Mojaddedi participated in this gathering and backed its results with a view to support the institution of Loya Jirga as a forum through which the true representatives of the nation can participate in the country’s political process.
With convening of the Constitutional Loya Jirga in January 2004, the Afghan nation was provided with a long awaited opportunity to freely choose the type of political system it deemed fit for the country. Once again the remarkable personality of Prof. Mojaddedi came to light, as he was elected Chairman of the Loya Jirga by a strong majority vote.
Prof. Al-Mojaddedi’s effective influence played in positively not only in maintaining calm and order in the proceedings of the Grand Assembly but also in finding common ground and reaching agreement through a thoughtful blend of logical argumentation and compromise.
The approval of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan by consensus under the capable leadership of Prof. Mojaddedi is a remarkable achievement which lays down, God willing, the foundation of an independent, prosperous, stable and moderate Islamic Afghanistan.
Prof Al-Mojaddedi strongly supports efforts aimed at reviving and strengthening state institutions, such as the Parliament and the National Army, whereby representatives of the people could have a direct say in affairs of the state through the Legislature and the Afghans could address their security and defence concerns in an effective manner. This would in turn pave the way for the early withdrawal of foreign forces including ISAF and US-led coalition troops, the prolonged stay of which on Afghan soil would certainly entail negative repercussions.
Prof. Mojaddedi hopes that the international community would continue supporting Afghanistan and that the elected Afghan government as well as non-governmental organisations would be able to work efficiently, transparently and sincerely for the speedy reconstruction of this devastated country.