Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, October 17th, 2019

Is the War against Terrorism being Won?


Is the War against Terrorism being Won?

During his surprise visit to Afghanistan, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, while talking to a forward operating base of coalition troops in Sharan said, "We are winning this tough conflict." Moreover, before his arrival in Kabul for the same visit, he had told the journalists who were accompanying him, "They (foreign troops) have been able to secure some of the key areas in Afghanistan." Leon Panetta seems to be very much positive about the war against terrorism or at least he wants to give such impression that things are getting better but in fact the objective conditions do not seem to be favoring him completely.

Today Afghanistan is going through a very uncertain period of its history, if not the most insecure period. It is correct that there have been great efforts made and many milestones achieved in the war against terrorism, yet it is also sure that future of security and stability in Afghanistan remains very much uncertain.

The capacity of Afghan forces to shoulder the responsibility of security is still very much naïve; the reconciliation process seems to be going nowhere; the regional ties are at their worst; the political system seems to lack the requirements of dynamic and mature system and the economic stability is no where to be seen; in such circumstances it is more important to be realistic than to be optimistic.

According to the latest report of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Afghanistan has been going through a serious threat of increasing insecurity. The report mentions, "Despite improvements in the quality of life for certain sectors of the population over the past decade, the security situation in many areas of the country remains alarming," Moreover, the statistics showing the number of the victims of the decade old war against terrorism is really distressing.

The midyear report of UN shows that 1,462 Afghan civilians lost their lives in crossfire between Taliban insurgents and Afghan, U.S. and NATO forces. During the first half of last year, 1,271 Afghan civilians were killed, mostly by roadside bombs. Airstrikes conducted by the U.S.-led coalition remained the leading cause of civilian deaths. In the first six months of this year, 79 civilian deaths were attributed to air strikes – up 14 percent from the same period last year.

The areas affected by war do not include only the areas that have been insecure from the very beginning; rather they also include the areas that have been relatively very secure few years earlier. Even the capital Kabul has been influenced by the trend of deteriorating situation. The recent attacks in Kabul on the most secure buildings and the most important figures clearly ring the bell of approaching danger. Apart from that, the areas surrounding Kabul have serious threats of insecurity.

The names of Logar and Wardak in this regard can be taken without any hesitation. These areas have serious threats of insecurity and no one would dare to travel through the area once it is dark. These regions were considered quite save as early as two years ago but the scenario seems very much different now.

Wardak was also the province where the Taliban shot down a US helicopter in August that killed 30 American troops, most of them belonged to elite Navy SEAL's. While in another incident in Wardak 77 US soldiers were killed in a powerful bomb that hit the soldiers' bus. So, when the security is so much fragile in the areas including capital and its surrounding, no confident expectations can be made for the areas which are considered Taliban's stronghold, especially the Southern regions.

Ten years after the war against terrorism, all parties in the war do not seem to be contented with the result of the war. US authorities and public along with the US troops do not seem to be very much satisfies with the outcomes of the war. Though they have made remarkable changes, yet the war has not reach to its decisive position. If left unattended, from now onwards the war can really turn in the favor of the terrorists. However, it is an accepted fact that the war alone can never result into a long lasting peace; it has to be followed by political prudence and that has to happen in the ongoing transition period.

nfortunately, all the efforts in that regard seem to be going nowhere. Especially, after the death of High Peace Council Chief Burhan ud din Rabbani the prospects of political re-conciliation with Taliban has faced a great deadlock and it would take a while to figure out political patch up with Taliban.

Moreover, the regional cooperation that is considered as key to proper solution to the issue of terrorism seems to be out of track. The relation between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which is the most important in the process, has been dominated by mistakes, misunderstandings and above all mistrust.

Afghan government, especially Afghan president, at the moment does not seem to be very much satisfied of the outcomes of the war, as well. Afghan president Karzai has mentioned in one of his latest statements that ten years of war against terrorism has not been able to bear the fruits that it was expected to.

The other political leaders, as well, seem to believe that the war against terrorism has yet to go a long way before it can reach to a decisive position. The Afghan people, though have been relieved much, are currently afraid of the deteriorating situation of the security and they have started to doubt the necessity of the war against terrorism. As a result they are losing their trust from this war and many of them may go against it.

Though, the war against terrorism has been fought well, at the same time there have been certain shortcomings from the involved parties, therefore, currently the war seems to be going on the wrong direction since the security in the country is at its lowest. The terrorist networks seem to be gaining strength even in the securest of the areas in the country.

The number of people being victimized by the cross firing, road side bombing and suicide attacks is increasing with each passing day. The public opinion both in the West and in Afghanistan is turning against the war.

The regional relations seem to be deteriorating due to growing frustration and above all the incapable leadership in the country is not able to deal with the objective conditions appropriately. These all facts do not point at a bright future. Immediate measures must be carried out to curb the situation before it is too late and Afghanistan is once again caught in the tyrannical clutches of instability.

Dilawar Sherzai is the permanent writer of the Daily outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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