Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, July 20th, 2019

Meaningful Attacks on Centers of Education, Technology, Culture and Faith

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Meaningful Attacks on Centers of Education,  Technology, Culture and Faith

On contrary to the white hopes for reaching peace, yesterday the capital city of Afghanistan witnessed a complex attack by at least four gunmen after months of relative calm. According to government officials, at least seven people were killed and eight civilians were wounded in the attack on the communications ministry in center of Kabul underlining the continued security threats despite efforts to open peace talks with the Taliban. According to media reports, a suicide bomb was detonated at the entrance to the multi-storey building housing the ministry in a busy commercial area of the city, followed up by gunfire which could be heard over a mile away.
“We saw a gunman trying to break open an office door and as we were running out, he was trying to shoot us and he started shouting ‘I will kill everyone here’,” as quoted said Syeda Rashid, an office administrator in the ministry who escaped with several of her colleagues. She said at least six women had been wounded. Television images showed people fleeing after gunfire and explosions began near the 18-storey government tower. The area around the building was sealed off by police as at least three attackers battled security forces for several hours before the attack was finally suppressed in the late afternoon, Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said.
While security forces were able to rescue hundreds of ministry workers, others were trapped inside for hours while the battle continued around the building. The interior ministry said in a statement that more than 2,800 employees of the Ministry of Communications and Technology, the Ministry of Information and Culture were evacuated during the clearance operation. Several young children and staff at a childcare centre for ministry employees were also evacuated. “We were having lunch when we heard the explosion,” as quoted said Rabia, who worked at the childcare centre. “We grabbed the children together into the safe room and just waited till the security forces arrived,” she said.
Police chief Gen. Sayed Mohammad Roshandil said the bomber blew himself up outside the Telecommunications Ministry, clearing the way for four gunmen to enter the building and the heavily guarded government compound. The explosion was also close to the heavily fortified Serena Hotel, one of the very few hotels still used by foreign visitors, in one of the main commercial areas of the city. The operation marked a return to the kind of complex attacks in an urban centre that have killed hundreds of people in Kabul and other Afghan cities over recent years. There was no claim of responsibility but the Taliban issued a statement denying any involvement. Many such attacks have been claimed by the radical Islamic State group. Prior to Saturday’s attack, Kabul had been relatively calm as U.S. officials have held a series of meetings with representatives from the Taliban to try to agree the basis for a peace settlement and an end to more than 17 years of war.
The attack came one day after the cancellation of scheduled talks between Taliban representatives and Afghan politicians in Doha, the capital of Qatar. The talks, which had been scheduled for April 19, were considered a significant first step toward finding a negotiated end to the war in Afghanistan and the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops. It also comes the week after the Taliban announced its annual spring offensive. However, The Taliban insurgent group in a statement rejected their involvement in today’s attack. The militants now control or influence about half the country, and last year was the deadliest yet for civilians. Both Taliban insurgents and the Islamic State group are active in eastern Afghanistan and have previously claimed attacks in Kabul while no other group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack except a flag of Daesh is seen at the scene of the clashes yesterday.
President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack; saying in a statement that the enemies of the nation were trying to create terror among the people by targeting civil servants. “the enemies of Afghanistan have conducted a terrorist attack”.”Once again they have created fear and have killed or wounded a number of innocent countrymen,” the statement read. The most recent attack in the city was on March 7, when three people were killed by rocket fire and dozens more were wounded at an open-air political gathering to commemorate the national unity martyr, Abdul Ali Mazari, who was martyred by the Taliban in 1995.
Anyway, the terrorist groups who carry out their actions under the mask of religious justification, they have meaningfully targeted Centers of Education, Technology, Culture and Faith. In past years, many terrorists attacked carried out under name of ISIL targeting religious circles in Kabul, Nangarhar and Herat and as results thousands have been sacrificed. the mosques of Imam Zaman and Baqer al-ulum in Bercchi and the Mosque of Imam-Zaman in Khair Khana, as well as the mosque in Gardez-Paktia and the mosques of Javadia in Herat; Attacks on Ministry of communication and technology or ministry of culture and information, which is equivalent to attacks on culture and technology, is very similar to the aforementioned attacks.
Lastly, the experience which gained within few last years shows that flexibilities and talks with terrorists would not work without military pressure. The insecurity crisis has really tired the people and it reached in the level that no one is safe. Therefore, we should not allow the terrorist groups to use the peace process as opportunity of launching brutal attacks in the country.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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