Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, April 20th, 2018

Government Requires a Clear Strategy against Insurgency

The security situation in Afghanistan is extremely serious and unfortunately the arrangements to tackle the situation are not up to the mark. The government authorities do not see eye to eye with each other regarding the security situation and the measures to control it. As there is no guideline or consensus on the higher level, the operational teams are not sure about what sort of steps they have to take. In most of the cases, they respond only after the insurgents attack somewhere. They, in short, have only a defensive mechanism to follow.
The security situation in the country demands that there should be a comprehensive strategy. The complex networks of the terrorists and their growth and expansion cannot be eradicated only through defensive approach. The security authorities must develop an approach where they are able to press the insurgents and bring them to the point where they understand that there is no solution through violence and terrorism and they should come to negotiation table. Without being dominated by the Afghan security forces, it is very difficult that Taliban insurgents get ready for any sort of negotiation.
The confused and incoherent security arrangements by the government, at a time when the country is going through the most challenging security situation, have been criticized by different analysts. They have said that though the government has made several promises over the past six months to eliminate insurgents and clear areas under their control, the presence of militants and their activities reveal that Kabul’s security plans are mostly symbolic.
They have highlighted how the government has failed to fulfill its promises it had made for the improvement of security. Particularly, they have highlighted the government’s response after the fall of Kunduz last year. Though President Ghani had said, “My order, the decision of the National Security Council is the full clearance [of Kunduz]. The security forces’ achievements should be maintained. Therefore, we should not go back to the strategy of one step forward and two steps back or two steps forwards and four steps back.”
However, the security situation in Kunduz shows that the insurgents have started taking controls of certain parts of the province again, while the strategy of the government to counter them or clear the province fully from them does not seem to be present. Kunduz MPs say that Ghani’s promises are deceiving and that security has not improved in Kunduz. Fatima Aziz, an MP from Kunduz has said, “Nothing has been done to ensure the safety of Kunduz’s residents. We hope that the national unity government should not deceive Kunduz residents anymore.”
Sources in Kunduz that do not want to be named have said that Taliban have established strong bases in the province and that they are mostly operating on the outskirts of Kunduz city and in parts of Chahardara, Dasht-e-Archi and Qala-e-Zal districts. Government has control only over centers of the districts, the sources said. Recently, government itself confirmed that nine districts are under the control of Taliban, but reports reveal that no steps have been taken to clear the areas.
This is the situation in a province that was overtaken by Taliban and it brought a bad name to Afghan security arrangements. Now, there are threats that the province may once again fall to Taliban if there are no proper security arrangements but there is no evident strategy to deal with the situation and government does not seem very serious about the issue.
Same is the case with other parts of the country. There are many provinces in the country that were once far away from insurgency but now they are seriously threatened by Taliban. However, the most disturbing fact is that there is no clear strategy with the government to deal with the situation. Since, Afghan security forces have shouldered the responsibility of security, they have faced serious challenges. There is no doubt in the fact that they have the capability to defeat the insurgents, but the problem is the lack of a comprehensive and practicable strategy. The higher ranks of the government and security personnel themselves are not sure about how to handle the situation. Their overall stance against insurgency is non-coherent and lack a true vision. They are not sure where they want to go; whether they want a negotiation with Taliban through military offensive so that the insurgents are compelled to come to negotiation table or they want to adopt a defensive mechanism only to respond after the attacks of the insurgents.

Moreover, they are not sure about how to coordinate the different fights that are taking place in different parts of the country. The insurgency in the country has turned complex, with ISIS posing even more threats. The different Taliban factions have different ways of fighting with the government. And, the main issue in such circumstances is that different authorities themselves are not on the same page on how to face the situation. Therefore, the government needs to design a clear strategy, involve all the authorities in the decision-making and improve the coordination. Only a clear, united and well-coordinated approach can defeat the insurgents in today’s situation.