Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Escalated Militancy Looms Large

The indiscriminate attacks carried out by the terrorist groups, mainly the Taliban and self-styled IS group, have filled the air with fear and disappointment and prompted people to lose their trust in the government. The officials’ frequent messages of condolence to the nation add more insult to the public injury.
The death toll raises on day-to-day basis as terrorist groups target people indiscriminately. In turn, Afghans are highly frustrated with the National Unity Government and accuse the government of turning a blind eye to their pain and sufferings as it never happens that a member of their family falls among casualties.
With the concrete walls set around government buildings to protect officials from terrorist attacks, the wall of mistrust between state and nation has also grown taller. Based on popular belief, terrorists kill, people sustain casualties and officials send messages of condolence and this cycle goes on and on without any effective mechanisms from the government to stop this trend.
The recent escalated insurgency reveals two facts: First, the government is not able to safeguard the rights and freedoms of people. In other words, the insurgent groups have changed their tactic of offensives, but the government goes with the same traditional system, which has been proved abortive and obsolete. Hence, the traditional counterinsurgency mechanism will fail to bring peace and stability in the country.
Second, despite losing ground in Iraq and Syria, the IS group has extended its power in Afghanistan seeking to foment sectarian violence. Therefore, this group is systematically targeting the Shiite Muslims in the capital city of Kabul. With the emergence of IS group in the country, Shiites came under severe attacks as their mosques, mourning proceedings, educational centers and sport clubs were not immune to their harm. In short, sectarian violence increased to a large extent, which in long term, will have a horrible consequence on national unity.
The US still hesitates whether to intensify its air strikes against the insurgents or simply wait for the positive response of the Taliban for peace talks. The exploratory talks between senior US diplomat Alice Wells and the Taliban’s representatives in Qatar made the US optimistic about peace talks. But it is believed that the Taliban use such signals sporadically not to come to the table with bonda fide intention but to put the US or even the Kabul government in limbo. For example, soon after holding talks with the US senior official, the Taliban stormed Ghazni province, which shows their lukewarm response to peace and insincerity to peace talks.
Initially, Donald Trump adopted a strong decision to follow aggressive strategy against the militants to remove them from the surface of earth, Hence, the US dropped “mother of all bombs” – a 20,000-pound weapon that costs an estimated $170,000 per bomb, according to the US Air Force – in the Achin district of Nangarhar province last year to target the IS members. But his strategy is yet to come to fruition and the IS group has increased its attacks against civilians.
One of the reasons behind the government’s insufficiency, according to the public, is that the heads of the NUG do not see eye to eye on country-level decision making. The gap and disagreements between high-ranking officials are beyond doubt. Whatever the reason is, but what is certain is that the NUG is not able to ensure the security of citizens or safeguard their rights and freedoms. With the establishment of the NUG, challenges emerged from all sides and Afghans’ dream for a society void of violence and discrimination did not become a reality.
The series of attacks in the heart of Kabul shows that the militants have simply reached the capital and they are able to directly target the presidential palace, as rockets were fired at presidential palace on Eid Day.
Rumors suggest that the Taliban intend to carry out a strong attack, similar to that on Ghazni, on Kabul – this is shared in social media in recent days. With the inability of the government and poor intelligence, this does not seem far from reality. That is, if Kabul government does not reinforce its intelligence and carry out more offensive attacks, rather than only defensive ones, an attack with the same nature will be probable.
Afghan officials, who were promising citizens of a utopia and society free from violence, poverty and discrimination during their presidential campaign, have to answer to the public about all their irresponsibility and insufficiency. With the endless cycle of: terrorists have their bombs, people have their bodies and officials have their messages of condolence, the government is the loser so far. Thus, such large-scale attacks in the heart of capital or anywhere in big cities are a stain on the face of the NUG, which has lost the trust and support of the nation.