Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, January 21st, 2018

On the Declining Security

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On the Declining Security

Violence seems unending here. Fighting continues harassing people and downplaying achievements in Afghanistan. Shortly before the transition process begins, the perspective of peace, development and stability remains unreliable in Afghanistan. Battling a multilateral dilemma, the Afghan government is yet too feeble to stand on its own. The international community has contributed enormously to rebuild the country and stabilize the post-Taliban Afghanistan. But no promising perspective appears in sight. Insecurity is bumping up and militancy deteriorates further each day. Militants get more courage and become more determined to carry on fighting against Afghan government and its international forces.

In a recent awful happening, hundreds of Taliban prisoners staged a daring escape overnight Monday through an underground tunnel from a jail in Kandahar holding some of the organization's most notorious killers. While some of the prisoners were later recaptured, the mass escape has prompted warnings of an upsurge in violence, and represents a major propaganda coup for the Taliban. It is the second mass escape from the jail in three years. In 2008, when its security was being overseen by Canadian soldiers, about 900 inmates, including 400 Taliban fighters, were freed from the jail when dozens of militants on motorbikes and two suicide bombers in an explosives-laden tanker attacked the front gate. Their escape led to an upsurge in violence in Kandahar's Arghandab valley. Kandahar is the birthplace of the Taliban and has been the scene of fierce fighting between international forces and insurgents.

Listing their military achievements, Afghan government and the security officials usually boast of having captured hundreds of Taliban fighters and local commanders in the pushes they made in the past years to defeat the stubborn dissidents. They say they could overcome remnants of the militant groups if they spent longer period in war, got heavily equipped and were supported by thousands of international forces, conducting continued aerial and ground operations. They now need to answer what is left for them to boast of when everything is lost at once and their whole team plan get petered out by a handful of barefoot Taliban fighters. How could one interpret the irritating truth that militants have been working for five months to dig a 320-meter long tunnel to help their jailed fellows escape and government forces didn't notice an entire working team for that long? This clearly indicates weakness of Afghan government and the national forces to take over the mission independently.

Enough clearly, the extremist groups' widening activities across the country help violent practices get enhanced in the country. The long-running security mission led by the international forces have so far achieved less then what was planned at the early stages of war. Having announced the transition process to start few months later, the Afghan government seems self-doubting on its own capability to run the job independently. The rampant corruption, low capacity, divergent policies and inefficient strategies have so far spoiled the resources spent to win the war and build a stable, developed and democrat Afghanistan. Despite billions of dollars spent on various reconstruction projects, economic plight is said to be a major cause of increasing insurgencies paving the way for more mercenary recruitment by Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

The recent violent developments in major cities of the country indicate that extremist groups are highly active from the most populated cities to the remote deserted areas. Religious extremist groups entering the country are progressively promoting more instability, violence, intolerance and sectarian enmities. The battle will continue as long as radical teachings are wildly promoted across the country and extremism hotbed is functioning safely beyond the borders. Having been suppressed by a multifaceted sticky situation, the government of Afghanistan needs to fight all of them simultaneously as they are functioning as inter-linked elements. Widespread poverty supports terrorism and both lead to instability, a weak rule of law and a fragile or even failed state. Experts eying on Afghanistan happenings advice that the Afghan government needs to get a move on and find the required political determination to steadily fight the interconnected challenging components that cause poverty, insecurity, violence and instability. However, this is not the end. The regional and international stakeholders that have been involved in the Post-Taliban process in Afghanistan are not in a mood to cooperatively work to accomplish the exhausting mission here.

Pakistan, the most effective external party in the Afghan mission is being criticized by the Afghan government and international community. Pakistani officials have frequently iterated the country's vital role in Afghanistan process, a substantial fact acknowledged by Afghan government and the international community. However, some conflicting interests and divergent policies have hampered success of relations between the two countries. For that and other adequate reasons, Afghans fear that the Afghan mission may prove unsuccessful. The fear seems appropriate. Because, after a decade, the long running mission in Afghanistan is getting more intricate as the war continues with no tangible outcomes. Afghan government and the international community's calculations have proved erroneous and strategies have fallen short to fulfill public expectations.

Anyhow, with the US forces beginning to withdraw few months later, Afghan government will be highly challenged to address security concerns in the country. Huge amounts of money, forming a bulk of the fund spent on Afghanistan, have been allocated to security sector in the country but less productive results have been achieved so far. The increasing insurgency, government's inability to take over the mission and the NATO countries' willingness to pull back their troops have led to a severe and tense environment for Afghan populace and the government. However, this doesn't indicate denial of improvements made in building Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

The forces have increased in terms of number but not satisfactory performance is seen achieved by ANSF. Analysts had previously warned that without the Western military presence, president Karzai's government would soon collapse. In addition to inefficient training, lack of equipment, ethnic conflicts – as reports had disclosed -, divergent decision making process at the top security level and unsustainable funding sources, infiltration of insurgent groups inside our forces are of the main concerns for the government, the nation and the international community. The recent Kandahar prison break by Taliban fighters clearly substantiated the claim. Having experienced incidents resembling to that of Kandahar previously, the government needs to make sure a trustworthy apparatus is functioning to keep security of the country. Focusing extraordinarily on the number of Afghan forces, the government and international community has insufficiently taken note of how they will function once the international forces leave the country. Such disappointing incidents will put the achievements further in jeopardy.

Nasruddin Hemati is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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