Evolving Afghan alliances.
Manoeuvring for parliamentary elections expected in 2018 and a presidential ballot the following year is already under way. President Ashraf Ghani is courting powerful northern regional governor Atta Mohammed Noor and veteran insurgent leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar to form a coalition, while his disgruntled former allies are in discussions about uniting against him.
- The return of Hekmatyar will give Pakistan direct leverage in Kabul.
- The United States may welcome a reduction in Iranian and Russian influence.
- Hekmatyar has few combatants left to bring over to the government side.