Struggle for Control of Afghanistan Comes to K Street

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Ahmad Massoud, a starring fig successful the absorption to Taliban rule, hired a lobbyist to question subject and fiscal enactment successful the United States.

The combat  Ahmad Massoud is starring  faces agelong  odds, with absorption    fighters surrounded by the Taliban and equipped  with dwindling supplies and nary  disposable   extracurricular  support.
Credit...Pool photograph by Christophe Archambault

Kenneth P. Vogel

Sept. 15, 2021Updated 10:39 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON — A starring fig successful the Afghan absorption has retained a Washington lobbyist to question subject and fiscal enactment successful the United States for a combat against the Taliban, according to a lobbying declaration and a typical of the absorption leader.

Ahmad Massoud, the person of 1 of the astir salient groups of fighters seeking to oust the Taliban from power, signed the declaration this week with Robert Stryk, who built a lobbying signifier during the Trump medication moving with clients that others connected K Street were wary of representing.

The contract, which was filed with the Justice Department connected Wednesday evening and indicates that the enactment volition beryllium pro bono, comes arsenic an array of Afghan constituencies are seeking lobbying assistance arsenic they jockey for designation successful Washington and the planetary community.

While Afghan absorption groups person enactment from immoderate Republicans successful Washington, the Biden medication has made wide that it has nary involvement successful playing immoderate further relation successful a civilian warfare successful Afghanistan.

The medication is besides seeking to equilibrium absorption to the Taliban’s regularisation with the request for practice connected issues similar evacuating remaining Americans and American allies from the country.

Three lobbyists said they heard the Taliban are seeking practice connected K Street arsenic they question planetary backing and legitimacy. It is unclear however specified an statement could beryllium structured to comply with sanctions expected to restrict the finances of the Taliban, which the United States considers a violent organization.

And a well-financed Afghan radical that has been progressive successful Washington, the Afghanistan-U.S. Democratic Peace and Prosperity Council, could go a conveyance for representing members of the country’s since-disbanded parliament who are discussing the anticipation of forming a authorities successful exile, according to a idiosyncratic acquainted with the conversations.

The assembly had retained a fistful of Washington consultants earlier the autumn of the Afghan authorities to lobby the United States to enactment the country’s military. And, since the Taliban takeover, the assembly has been promoting protests against the Taliban, arsenic good arsenic messages from erstwhile members of parliament opposing Taliban regularisation and criticizing the Biden administration’s handling of the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

A typical for Mr. Massoud said that a superior information for his lobbying run was to halt immoderate determination by the United States and different governments to assistance legitimacy to the Taliban — oregon anyone different than Mr. Massoud — arsenic the rightful person of Afghanistan.

“No entity could person legitimacy without the support, endorsement of his excellency Ahmad Massoud, due to the fact that helium is the root of legitimacy today,” said Ali Nazary, who represents Mr. Massoud successful the United States.

Mr. Massoud, the 32-year-old lad of a legendary mujahedeen commandant who led the combat against repeated Soviet offensives successful the 1980s, is starring the absorption to the Taliban from the aforesaid valley from which his begetter operated.

But the conflict faces agelong odds, with absorption fighters surrounded by the Taliban and equipped with dwindling supplies and nary disposable extracurricular support. While Mr. Massoud has sought to presumption himself arsenic the person of the anti-Taliban battle, Amrullah Saleh, who was the vice president successful the toppled authorities and is simply a erstwhile caput of the National Directorate of Security and a erstwhile subordinate of the elder Massoud, past period proclaimed himself Afghanistan’s morganatic president.

Mr. Nazary said that “we are asking the United States to supply worldly enactment for our efforts, which would see shipment of violative weapons,” and besides not to springiness designation to the Taliban.

Understand the Taliban Takeover successful Afghanistan

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Who are the Taliban? The Taliban arose successful 1994 amid the turmoil that came aft the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan successful 1989. They utilized brutal nationalist punishments, including floggings, amputations and wide executions, to enforce their rules. Here’s much connected their root communicative and their grounds arsenic rulers.

Mr. Nazary, who was progressive successful arranging the declaration with Mr. Stryk, said they chose him due to the fact that helium was not portion of “the constitution successful D.C.,” which Mr. Nazary accused of appeasing the Taliban. He added that Mr. Stryk “truly believes successful america and the Afghan radical nary substance however it affects his reputation.”

While Mr. Stryk has worked with Democratic lobbyists during the Biden administration, it is not wide the grade of his connections to President Biden’s nationalist information apparatus, oregon what specifically helium intends to bash to triumph enactment for Mr. Massoud.

Mr. Stryk has represented a scope of clients facing fraught ineligible and nationalist relations problems, including Isabel dos Santos, the girl of Angola’s erstwhile president who is accused of embezzling millions of dollars from a authorities lipid institution she erstwhile headed. And helium had represented the authorities of the erstwhile Congolese president Joseph Kabila, which had faced American sanctions for human rights abuses and corruption, arsenic good arsenic the medication of President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, which the United States considers illegitimate, and a witnesser successful the Russia probe who pleaded guilty past twelvemonth to possessing kid pornography and enactment trafficking a minor.

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