Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Address All Contributive Factors or Expect No Win

Violence is at its worst in Afghanistan since 2001. Before the first May, for circles who assume that United States is facing failure in Afghanistan war, the life of Osama bin Laden and his vague location was a levelheaded point and for US a question for which it had no proper answer. The strong question these circles used to ask was, "if you have failed to hunt down Osama for almost a decade, how could you claim victory against Al-Qaida and its associates?" Now no one can ask that question as Osama is dead.

But still the Afghan war seems to be moving towards failure, increased violence is a clear evidence for this. Taliban hold a strong position in all 34 provinces of Afghanistan while the government is failing to extent rule of law beyond the city of Kabul and international community is inclined towards withdrawal of its forces – the US and some of its allies have already announced that they would be withdrawing thousands of their troops by the end of this year. An important factor that is deemed to have boosted up the morale of Taliban is that Afghan government has invited them to table talks and promised them monetary rewards and asylums in foreign countries.

The widening rift between Karzai administration and its Western partners, mainly over civilian killings caused by NATO, is an upbeat point for Taliban. Another reason for the deteriorating security the rivalry between countries involved in the affairs of Afghanistan. It is widely believed that Afghanistan has been sandwiched between US-Iran and India-Pakistan. These all factors have contributed in the intensification of insurgents' operation and until and unless they are addressed, security in Afghanistan is to further worsen.

There are claims that Taliban have been driven back in their strongholds but they continue to enjoy presence in almost all the thirty four provinces of Afghanistan. More than 90 percent of districts of Afghanistan are under varying influence or control of the insurgents and there are several districts which are completely out of government control. This is what the government itself admits. With more international troops deployed in Afghanistan last year and multiplication of efforts to recruit more people to Afghan National Army and Police, the security condition has drastically deteriorated.

Afghanistan is reversing towards bad security which threats the planned development and reconstruction activities and also, the newborn democracy.
The plan of US and its allies to drawdown their forces without having the issues caused by militancy and extreme fixed is another point of concern among Afghan population and increment of violence. The pitfall of withdrawal plan is that it has given psychological support to the Taliban. Taliban are now waiting for US complete withdrawal in 2014. Even if they are defeated until then, after US withdrawal they will re-emerge. Although the Taliban have been invited to negotiations by Afghan government, Taliban have signaled no readiness and definitely would continue their activities at faster pace, as they see victory only at some years distance. So, the efforts to resolve the Afghan war through peace talks and withdrawal of foreign troops in the next four years are both in the favor Taliban.

As the graph of violence undergoes positive change, the number of civilian casualties increases either. Civilian deaths caused by NATO operation are widening the rift between Afghan government and its Western allies, mainly Afghan-US relations. Not only the civilian killings have caused diplomatic harms but also such incidents trigger the anger of common people each time and result in violent protests. As of yesterday, Hundreds of Afghans protested against the accidental killing of a teenage boy by NATO-led forces in a volatile Nangarhar province, and the district governor said one man was shot dead as police fired at the crowd after it turned violent.

A UN report this year showed that 2010 was by far the most lethal for Afghan civilians with a total of 2,777 civilians killed, up 15 percent on the previous year. While the United Nations says insurgents were responsible for 75 per cent of those deaths, it is those caused by foreign troops that angers ordinary Afghans the most. The killings of civilians by NATO, although unintentionally, have brought Afghans on the roads to protest against foreigners in this country. The right to protest is a perceived human right arising out of a number of recognized human rights. But in Afghanistan protests have been extremely violent as they provide a platform for Taliban members to attack government and foreigners. Anti-Western sentiment is also running high a month after a fundamentalist US pastor burned a Quran. The NATO needs to further work to avoid killings of civilians in order to lessen these sentiments because winning the hearts and minds of people is vital to reach success in Afghanistan war.

The lingering war and worsening security situation is also because Taliban have consistent sources that financially and logistically support them. Afghanistan is believed to be the battle field of intelligence of certain countries that have rivalry since decades. These countries have their own purpose and objectives in Afghanistan and want their interests to remain solid at any cost. The beneficiary of these negative competitions is the Taliban and insurgents. Afghanistan's neighbors and its Western backers must set aside their own enmity and let peace prevail in the lives of the people of Afghanistan.

What Afghans anticipate from the international community is to assist them attain peace, development and prosperity. A peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan is in benefit of the people living across the globe while not working to address the factors contributing to insecurity in this country would lead to further expansion of militancy and extremism to the region and the world.