The process of transition of security responsibilities to Afghan forces has hit a rough patch from the very beginning with the assassination of Jan Mohammad Khan, former governor of Uruzgan Province who served as an advisor to President Karzai. Another MP fromUruzgan, HashemWatanwal, was also assassinated along with the former governor in an attack in the heart of the Kabul. Whether or not the timing of the assassination of these high-ranking officials has been premeditated to coincide with the kickoff of the transition process cannot be known.
What is certain is that the spectacular attack at the heart of capital only proves the tenacity and resilience of Taliban and other militant groups who have many times shown their ability to attack anywhere and anytime at will.This recent attack in the heart of capital Kabul as well as other recent high-profile attacks such as the one on Intercontinental Hotel is also designed to destabilize the government of Afghanistan and discredit its capability to maintain law and order in the nation's Capital.
Another interesting aspect of this targeted killing is that it has been carried out by militant groups as the latest installment in a series of high-profile assassination that saw the downfall of Gen. DaudDaud, Northern region's supreme police chief, Khan Mohammad Mujahid, Kandahar's Police Chief,JawadZahak, Bamyan's Provincial Council chief, AbdulrahmanSayyedKheili, shah JahanNoori and a number of other erstwhile anti-Taliban figures.
While the assassination of the President's brother in Kandahar is clearly of a different silk, the pattern stands out among all the targeted killings perpetrated by Taliban in recent months, laying bare the intent of militant groups to eliminatethosefigures thathave been among the fiercest adversaries to Taliban and other militant groups.Jan Mohammad Khan, as an influential pro-government figure in Uruzgan had a flamboyant track record of standing against the Taliban rule both during and before the rule of Taliban in 1990s. For a period of three years during the rule of Taliban, he was in their captivity, being released later in a prisoner swap deal with the Taliban.
The targeted killings of these personalities shows the Taliban and other militant groups' resolve to prevent the rise and consolidation of any power block in post-transition Afghanistanthat will be comprised of such fiercely anti-Taliban figures. Clearly as the Western coalition's plans to withdraw from Afghanistan shifts into gear and the deadline of 2014 draws closer, Taliban and their like-minded allies have scurries into a hurry to claim and collect what they view as war spoils of a post-invasion Afghanistan.
The attack in the heart of Kabul has once again put the Afghan security forces and their abilities to maintain security in the national and international spotlight.It is a fact that a total, fail-proof system of detection and prevention of such attacks cannot be put in place. To be fair, in a highly militarized environment like Afghanistan, it is naturally next to impossible for the Afghan security forces and intelligence agencies and for that matter any other security apparatus of any other country to prevent the entire range of terrorist attacks that might take place.
Therefore, expecting the security forces to detect and prevent such attacks beforehand is not realistic. On the other hand, it is only natural to rightfully expect from the security and intelligence forcesto maintain vigilance and have an acceptable success rate of detecting and preventing such terror attacks beforehand. As it is known to intelligence experts and security officials, not every piece of intelligence obtained is "actionable" intelligence.
Very few intelligence threads obtained from the underbelly of terror groups are precise enough to enable the security agencies to foil the attacks before they occur. While it is important to have a realistic expectation of the capabilities of security and intelligence forces, it is no excuse for these agencies not to maximize their efficiency, effectiveness and capabilities. Afghan National Security Forces, as they stand now, whether the National Police or the National Army, and even the intelligence agencies have a long way before they find the capability to withstand the onslaught of security crises and provide security to the country and people after the majority of foreign forces leave.
Addressing the security dilemmas faced by the country characterized by a resurgent and resilient Taliban and the fledgling state of the country's security forces requires a concerted effort on all fronts by the country's national leadership, the Afghan nation and the international allies of Afghanistan. Mush has been said about what the international allies and the coalition forces should accomplish in order to stabilize Afghanistan and secure its future. What has been neglected is the role that the people and nation of Afghanistan should play in the interest of the country and its future.
Instead of adopting a passive stance on the dreadful happenings inside the country and in place of continuing the course of fragmentation and political indifference, it is incumbent upon the people to show to both sides of this war what is at the larger interest of the country and the nation; which is of course an end to conflicts and wars. Grassroots-level mobilization of the citizenry,within the framework of the rule of law,against the atrocities committed by the Taliban and the failures of the governmenthas been painfully missing so far.
After all, the people's actions matter as much as the actions of the authorities in government matter in deciding the fate of the country. As long as the people continue to be mere mute spectators to the events unfolding before their eyes and as long as they remain consumed in the routine of their non-existence, the fate of the country and its peoplewill be condemned to more misery, death and despair. The Taliban, in their targeting of tribal elders and communal leaders throughout the southern and northern swaths of the country, including the latest in Kabul, have shown that they are indeed pursuing an agenda of polarizing and breaking up the country and society along ethnic and communal lines. It is, needless to say, upon the people to stand up in defense of their lives and their future.