Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, December 13th, 2018

Taliban Continue Aggression

Terror continues in Kabul and once again the doubts and ambiguities are rising regarding the peace and tranquility in the country. It is important to note that currently Afghan government is striving for a peace deal with Taliban and the preparatory talks have already taken place. Rise in insecurity being claimed by Taliban at this juncture would either mean that Taliban are not at all interested in peace deal with Afghan government or they are pressuring it so that it can have more leverage in the peace talks and may even set their own conditions.
In the last few weeks, Taliban have carried out some very heinous attacks in the capital Kabul that have resulted in the death of both the civilians and the security forces. Few days earlier they carried out the tragic attack on the employees of Tolo TV that was one of the most cowardly attacks by Taliban. Guiltless civilians (including women), who were doing nothing except earning livelihood for their family members, were brutally killed and after that the attack was shamelessly claimed by Taliban. The attack gave rise to many questions and concerns regarding the security of media employees and received condemnation from all circles of the society to a great extent. It further spoiled the reputation of Taliban and widened the gap between them and the common masses. It clearly showed what sort of Shariah law they want and what they basically consider as a threat to an “Islamic Emirate”. 
That attack basically showed the mindset of Taliban and it is very likely that they enter the peace talks with the same mindset and may even stick to it. The challenge is for the Afghan government to deal with such a mindset. And, the question is if they stick to the same mindset, will Afghan government show some flexibility and promise to them some of the amendments which they want in government policies and even Afghan constitution? If not, what are the other options for Afghan government? Will Afghan government also continue aggression? Afghan government needs to come up with a clear strategy regarding the peace talks with Taliban. Using soft language and inviting them with open arms for talks alone would not solve the issue. Afghan government has to speak from a stronger position and let Taliban know that there would not be any compromise regarding peace and stability in the country.
Taliban have clearly shown that they are not going to leave their aggression easily, as they have continued their deadly attacks. In a deadly attack on Monday, a Taliban suicide bomber attacked Public Order and Border Forces base in Dehmazang area of Kabul city that killed 20 people and injured 29 others.
The reports reveal that there were civilians among both the dead and the injured. According to the Ministry of Interior (MoI), the suicide bomber wanted to enter the base but when the security guards at the gate became suspicious the bomber detonated his suicide vest.
The attack received condemnation from Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani and CEO, Abdullah Abdullah, as it once again gave little consideration to the lives of the civilians. Resolute Support deputy chief of staff for communication, Brig. Gen. Wilson Shoffner, also condemned the attack and said, “Once again, terrorists have targeted a populated area with no regard for innocent lives… The Taliban have no plan for the development of Afghanistan. Targeting those who defend their fellow Afghans does not advance the cause of peace.”
It really raises questions and doubts about Taliban’s willingness for peace talks as they have continued their aggression. If they are really ready for the talks, they must first of all announce cease-fire. Pursuing peace talks without cease-fire would not be successful and may result in continued war.
It is important for Afghanistan that a cease-fire should be announced before Taliban start their Spring Offensive. It is not likely that before spring there can be conclusion of the peace talks but there can certainly be a cease-fire. Taliban require understanding that they cannot pursue peace talks along with aggression. Their aggression may further result in a response by Afghan forces and the war may continue indefinitely, which will not be in anyone’s favor.  
People of Afghanistan also want to see an end to insecurity and instability and they also deserve so as well as they give sacrifices every day. They are tired of decades of war and they do not want that this opportunity for peace should be wasted. Therefore, the Afghan government, the neighboring countries and international community must also pressurize Taliban to come to terms with the basic condition of a negotiation, which is nothing except a cease-fire. Now, it is evident for everyone what Taliban are up to and what they have been doing in Afghanistan. They may have shown changed image in the current meetings that they had attended in different countries, but to the people of Afghanistan they have shown violence and terror. So, for the greater good of Afghan people strict stance should be taken against them.