Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, August 18th, 2018

Hoping for a Peaceful Year

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Hoping for a Peaceful Year

Afghanistan was ranked the second worst country in terms of terrorism in the world due to the Taliban’s intensified attacks. The last two years have been highly deadly for Afghan soldiers and civilians despite the death of Omar’s successor Mullah Akhtar Mansour, who was considered an obstacle before peace process. But the Taliban employed their radical ideology targeting people indiscriminately. Worst of all, the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) emerged in the country and compounded the instability.
The escalated offensives of the Taliban on the one hand, and the ISIL’s systematic killings on the other hand, filled the air with a strong sense of fear and disappointment. Initially, Afghans feared the presence of the Taliban hoping that they would be nudged to the negotiating table. Therefore, the Afghan people flocked to the ballot boxes during the presidential and provincial elections with the aim of strengthening democracy in the country. They hoped that their ballot would put an end to bullet and ensure peace and prosperity. To their unmitigated chagrin, it was not only the Taliban that intensified their attacks but also the ISIL group which ushered in fueling sectarian violence and spilling the blood of people, mainly ethnic minorities, indiscriminately. It is believed that the presence of the ISIL group was one of the main reasons behind Afghanistan’s ranking as the second worst country out of 163 in the world.
Loyalists to the ISIL seek to employ its dogmatic beliefs and radical practices in Afghanistan. That is to say, the ISIL does not follow any specific objectives other than their mainstream in Afghanistan rather it emerged in the country to demonstrate its existence to the world. However, the ISIL emergence spread a strong sense of fear and shattered the public hope for a peaceful society. Believing that the seed of democracy will not be sowed amidst war and violence, a large number of Afghan people took refuge to foreign countries.
The brain-drain was followed by two horrible consequences; First, scores of Afghan refugees have occupied refugee camps without a clear destiny. They have no choice but to grin and bear it. This issue pressures them mentally since their families wrestle with financial challenges. Second, the masses lost their morale as a result of exodus and look forward to having a slim chance to abandon the country. In addition, Afghan officials also expressed concern over the brain-drain but without an effective mechanism to mitigate the situation, especially the security situation.
Constitutionally, the state is committed to “Form a civil society void of oppression, atrocity, discrimination as well as violence, based on rule of law, social justice, protecting integrity and human rights, and attaining peoples’ freedoms and fundamental rights; strengthen political, social, economic as well as defense institutions; attain a prosperous life and sound living environment for all inhabitants of this land.” Despite this fact, people’s rights and freedoms were violated on a large scale and the government could not fully safeguard the life and liberty of citizens. The idea of “civil society” did not come true and the nascent democracy failed to panacea the bleeding wound of Afghan nation.
To view the security situation, Afghans are left at the mercy of terrorism and will sustain casualties as ever before. The Taliban do not intend to hold negotiation with Kabul government and will continue their escalated attacks in the country. Similarly, the ISIL group seeks to recruit more people and fight against the government as long as possible.
In spite of the militancy, the strong resolution of Kabul government along with its international allies, particularly the US, is light at the end of the tunnel. The Trump’s administration seems very serious to win the war on terror in Afghanistan and adopt offensive attacks. Perhaps the strong decision to defeat the Taliban and ISIL group will be the last gleam of Afghans’ hope. If Afghan government and foreign troops intensify their offensive attacks, rather than defensive ones, 2018 will be different from the two past years and Afghans will not sustain heavy casualties.
The Afghans’ only hope is to be able to exercise their rights and freedoms in a civil society which is promised by both the Constitution and officials. It is further hoped and prayed that Afghanistan will not be ranked on the top list of terrorist stricken states. Indeed, if people live a peaceful life in the country, there will be no tendency in taking refuge to foreign countries. But if the militants gain upper hand in battlefields, the brain-drain will continue and the last gleam of hope will come to an end. Hence, the Kabul government will have to intensify attacks against the militants so that Afghans no more experience a deadly year.

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

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