Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

Afghan Soldiers – The National Heroes

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Afghan Soldiers – The National Heroes

Having assumed full responsibility for national security in December 2014, the Afghan forces had displayed commitment to the nation and the constitution through immense sacrifice, thereby earning unprecedented public support and trust. Warring parties inflicted heavy casualties upon Afghan soldiers within the past two years. With the declaration of “spring offensive” and “Omari Operation”, the Taliban’s inroads intensified and soldiers are left at the greater mercy of terrorism. Similarly, militancy has escalated in Afghanistan following the death of Mullah Akhtar Mansour and appointment of his successor Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada – a radical ideologue who stages deadly attacks against Afghan soldiers and civilians.
With the establishment of democratic administration, peace has been the highest national priority and Afghan officials sought tirelessly to get warring factions to join peace process and stop violence and bloodshed. However, the Taliban persisted in their indiscriminate killings and spilling the blood of combatants and non-combatants alike. They turned the Afghan’s peace offering down. Through continuing the tug of war, the Taliban left no room for negotiation and no trust to resume it.
Now, it is believed that the real tug of war has been ushered in between Afghan government and the Taliban. With the escalated militancy, Afghan soldiers have also increased their strikes along with US forces. As a result, it was revealed on July 13 that a US drone strike in Nangarhar province led to the death of Khalifa Omar Mansour – a leading commander of the Pakistani Taliban who was behind the the ruthless 2014 massacre at the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar City of Pakistan. On July 16, President Ghani telephoned Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and told him Khalifa Omar Mansour and four other Taliban commanders had been killed. “Ghani informed the Prime minister that the mastermind of APS’ massacre Omar Khurasani along with his four accomplices was killed few days back in coalition forces strike,” said a statement issued by the Pakistan’s Prime Minister’s House.
Umar Mansour claimed responsibility for the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in the December 2014. Reuters called him Pakistan’s most hated man. He was believed to be behind all key Taliban attacks in Pakistan in the last year. In January this year, he claimed the attack on the Pakistan’s Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, and threatened to carry out more such attacks.
Political pundits believe that Khalifa Mansour’s death may come as an irreparable loss to the already weakened TTP led by Mullah Fazlullah. Indeed, he must have got a serious emotional wound after the death of his high-profile commander, Khalifa Mansour.
It is believed that the death of Mansours, Mullah Akhtar Mansour and Khalifa Mansour, by the US drone strikes have prompted the Taliban to take the oath of revenge and compound their terrorist acts namely killing Afghan soldiers and civilians. Therefore, Afghan nation bear the brunt of terrorism and come under serious attacks in recent weeks.
The bravery of Afghan soldiers is beyond doubt despite undergoing casualties. “They are resilient in the face of adversity, and they have made constant improvements in efficiently and effectively coordinating and building systems of leadership and management,” President Muhammad Ashraf Ghani said. He believed that the range of organized forms and techniques of violence today drew on previous waves of violence throughout history – anarchism, anti-colonialism, terrorism of the 1960’s and 70s, and violent ethnic and identity movements of the 1980’s and 90s. 
Contrary to the aforementioned fact, according to media reports the Taliban delegation had visited China for discussions on the current situation in Afghanistan. The team, led by head of the Taliban’s political office in Qatar Abbas Stanikzai, paid a five-day visit to Beijing from July 18 to 22 in response to an invitation of the Chinese government. An unnamed Taliban leader is cited as saying, “We wanted the Chinese leadership to help us raise these issues on world forums and help us get freedom from occupying forces.”
Mostly likely, since the Taliban have come under the US heavy air strikes, they seek to show readiness for peace talks provided on having their condition fulfilled which was set earlier – the complete withdrawal of US forces – as a precondition for joining talks. In other words, the Taliban intends to resume the game, which never bore the desired fruit. They viewed peace talks as a game and played dishonestly which led to mistrust. Perhaps, Afghan officials will not fall for their false claims for resuming peace talks anymore. Under the terms of “peace talks”, Afghanistan has been constantly stabbed in the back.

Democracy is not gained without sacrifices. If we consider the democratic societies, people sacrificed their lives and blood to ensure democracy for their nation. Similarly, Afghan people need to devote their lives so as to invest for gaining democracy. It is hoped that the precious lives and blood of our soldiers will not go in vain rather they will ensure peace and stability for the nation, if not now, in the future. Whenever negotiation is proved abortive, blood will be the only remedy to protect the rights and dignity of a nation. Our selfless soldiers, who sacrifice their lives for protecting their nation and country, are not dead. They are alive in national memory and are considered national heroes since they play heroic role.

Hujjattullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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