Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

Political Wheeling and Dealing

Reports unfold an escalation in insurgency triggered by warring factions, mainly the Taliban splinter group, across the country. The blood of scores of Afghan soldiers and civilians were spilled in 2015 and political turbulence continues unabated. The Taliban’s spring offensive wrecked serious havoc and imposed heavy casualties on the country. Additionally, the emergence of the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) compounds security challenges. Rumors say that the ISIL group – that slays people on the grounds of their race, color, beliefs, etc. – will usher in strong militancy in coming spring – it would be the ISIL’s spring offensive, if not tackled beforehand. 

Similarly, the Taliban elements seek to spread warped ideology in Afghanistan via founding seminaries. With a new wave of privately run seminaries/madrasahs being opened across the country, there is a growing feeling among women’s rights groups that these freedoms are again under threat. Reportedly, there are now 1,300 unregistered madrasahs in Afghanistan, where children are given only religious teaching. This is increasing fears among those involved in mainstream education. Arguably the most controversial of these madrasahs is Ashraf-ul Madares in Kunduz, founded by two local senior clerics, where 6,000 girls study full time.

The worsening security situation in Afghanistan has caused the U.S commander, John Campbell to retain the earlier US troops in Afghanistan throughout 2016 to help the struggling Afghan troops in the region. He also intends to seek additional US troops to support them. He has stated in comments to maintain the current force of 9,800 US troops to train Afghan forces and help counter terrorist attacks. He added to revoke the initial idea of retracting 4,300 troops by January 2017.

News from Afghanistan in 2015 has been gloomy, when American troops ended their daily combat mission after 14 years. Taliban rebels overran the northern provincial capital of Kunduz in October and were pushed out after fierce fighting that included an unintended attack by a US warplane on hospital that caused the life of 42 civilians.

In the south, Taliban insurgents captured Sangin District in Helmand province while an al-Qaeda training camp was also discovered there and destroyed. Islamic State fighters have set up outposts in the east. Recently, six US airmen were also killed by a suicide bomber outside Bagram Air Base.

On the other hand, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his concern of heightened militancy across the border. Russia being one of the countries that shares the border, recently at a Commonwealth of Independent States summit, Putin asked member states to create a joint task force to patrol the dangerous borders. After the US entered Afghanistan there were many Taliban fighters who fled to bordering nations, especially countries like Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) is a militant organization that is growing rapidly along the border, battles are being waged in Zabul, Baghlan, Kunduz, Badakhshan, Takhar, Faryab, Jawzjan and Badghis; the last six of these provinces border Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

It is said that there is a vast number of fighters from these countries fighting for ISIL or Taliban; it goes to show how radicalization is happening across the border, due to a lapse in border security in the northern part of Afghanistan.

Now, it is emerging that the Northern provinces of Afghanistan are slowly becoming a safe haven for terrorists to train and radicalize Central Asia. The threat is so high that Turkmenistan deployed almost 70 percent of its military along the Afghan border.

In the midst of this heightened militancy along the Afghan border, there is a power struggle between Russia and America, the dominant country of Central Asia is Russia but other countries are seeking help from the United States. This is worrisome for Moscow as they are the most powerful country in the bloc and want to take the lead in this fight for a safer battle. Recently Russian officials have hinted at sending back their forces to the Afghanistan-Tajikistan border, where they last patrolled in 2005. Some countries are showing tendency towards the US for help in this issue, case in point a delegation led by Turkmenistan Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov went to Washington to discuss economic and security issues. Following which it was confirmed that Turkmenistan would receive increased US military aid.

Anyhow, the national unity government has been beleaguered and under pressure from all sides. The growing violence of the conflict, slow progress on forming a government, emerging political rivalries and a sinking economy – all make a quick peace deal attractive. However, seeking a quick fix may ruin the chance of getting a real peace process going. The most essential element of a peace process is building trust among the warring parties. An external force intimidating one party into coming to the table can be no substitute for genuine interest in seeking a negotiated end to the conflict.

Analysts are of the view that military deal would be an effective mechanism to tackle the issue and the government will have to intensify counter-insurgency and reinforce the Afghan soldiers. After all, there should be no room available for ISIL to incubate in the country and spew forth its venom. In addition, the seminaries should be registered and under government surveillance so as not to change into hotbed of radicalization. The world, mainly the neighboring countries, should join force against militancy carried out by any terrorist networks.

and civilians were spilled in 2015 and political turbulence continues unabated. The Taliban’s spring offensive wrecked serious havoc and imposed heavy casualties on the country. Additionally, the emergence of the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) compounds security challenges. Rumors say that the ISIL group – that slays people on the grounds of their race, color, beliefs, etc. – will usher in strong militancy in coming spring – it would be the ISIL’s spring offensive, if not tackled beforehand. 

Similarly, the Taliban elements seek to spread warped ideology in Afghanistan via founding seminaries. With a new wave of privately run seminaries/madrasahs being opened across the country, there is a growing feeling among women’s rights groups that these freedoms are again under threat. Reportedly, there are now 1,300 unregistered madrasahs in Afghanistan, where children are given only religious teaching. This is increasing fears among those involved in mainstream education. Arguably the most controversial of these madrasahs is Ashraf-ul Madares in Kunduz, founded by two local senior clerics, where 6,000 girls study full time.

The worsening security situation in Afghanistan has caused the U.S commander, John Campbell to retain the earlier US troops in Afghanistan throughout 2016 to help the struggling Afghan troops in the region. He also intends to seek additional US troops to support them. He has stated in comments to maintain the current force of 9,800 US troops to train Afghan forces and help counter terrorist attacks. He added to revoke the initial idea of retracting 4,300 troops by January 2017.

News from Afghanistan in 2015 has been gloomy, when American troops ended their daily combat mission after 14 years. Taliban rebels overran the northern provincial capital of Kunduz in October and were pushed out after fierce fighting that included an unintended attack by a US warplane on hospital that caused the life of 42 civilians.

In the south, Taliban insurgents captured Sangin District in Helmand province while an al-Qaeda training camp was also discovered there and destroyed. Islamic State fighters have set up outposts in the east. Recently, six US airmen were also killed by a suicide bomber outside Bagram Air Base.

On the other hand, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his concern of heightened militancy across the border. Russia being one of the countries that shares the border, recently at a Commonwealth of Independent States summit, Putin asked member states to create a joint task force to patrol the dangerous borders. After the US entered Afghanistan there were many Taliban fighters who fled to bordering nations, especially countries like Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) is a militant organization that is growing rapidly along the border, battles are being waged in Zabul, Baghlan, Kunduz, Badakhshan, Takhar, Faryab, Jawzjan and Badghis; the last six of these provinces border Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

It is said that there is a vast number of fighters from these countries fighting for ISIL or Taliban; it goes to show how radicalization is happening across the border, due to a lapse in border security in the northern part of Afghanistan.

Now, it is emerging that the Northern provinces of Afghanistan are slowly becoming a safe haven for terrorists to train and radicalize Central Asia. The threat is so high that Turkmenistan deployed almost 70 percent of its military along the Afghan border.

In the midst of this heightened militancy along the Afghan border, there is a power struggle between Russia and America, the dominant country of Central Asia is Russia but other countries are seeking help from the United States. This is worrisome for Moscow as they are the most powerful country in the bloc and want to take the lead in this fight for a safer battle. Recently Russian officials have hinted at sending back their forces to the Afghanistan-Tajikistan border, where they last patrolled in 2005. Some countries are showing tendency towards the US for help in this issue, case in point a delegation led by Turkmenistan Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov went to Washington to discuss economic and security issues. Following which it was confirmed that Turkmenistan would receive increased US military aid.

Anyhow, the national unity government has been beleaguered and under pressure from all sides. The growing violence of the conflict, slow progress on forming a government, emerging political rivalries and a sinking economy – all make a quick peace deal attractive. However, seeking a quick fix may ruin the chance of getting a real peace process going. The most essential element of a peace process is building trust among the warring parties. An external force intimidating one party into coming to the table can be no substitute for genuine interest in seeking a negotiated end to the conflict.

Analysts are of the view that military deal would be an effective mechanism to tackle the issue and the government will have to intensify counter-insurgency and reinforce the Afghan soldiers. After all, there should be no room available for ISIL to incubate in the country and spew forth its venom. In addition, the seminaries should be registered and under government surveillance so as not to change into hotbed of radicalization. The world, mainly the neighboring countries, should join force against militancy carried out by any terrorist networks.