We have traveled through more than three decades under the dark cloud of war with its worst ever consequences, yet the region is severely believed to be a safe haven for the Taliban and its allies. Since the beginning of this year, Afghan’s official personalities have been under constant attacks, yet the government reportedly failed to take any initiative against the culprits.
Just recently, on May 13, Kabul witnessed another cold-blooded targeted assassination of Arsala Rahmani, in the heart of the city, one of the key peace negotiators, who was considered to be the only bridge between the two sections of thought in the divisive country. Months earlier, the former President Burhanuddin Rabbani was shot dead as he was pushing to patch up differences between Kabul and the Taliban fighters. So has been the case with the so-called peace process that hasn’t been able to make a difference yet as irritants and the politics repeatedly come up with if’s and but’s while the security situation in the country has turned worst and the progress has completely shattered down.
As we are well-cognizant with the ground realities, from March onwards the security situation has gone worst and the government itself was under bold targeted attacks by the Taliban militants. Even the US President Brack Obama, landed into Kabul airport for a public vision to sign the agreement for a long-term cooperation and provide safety and assistance to this war torn nation until 2024, was welcomed with bomb-explosions that left dozens of dead and injuries. The Taliban-led insurgency and its al-Qaeda affiliates strongly stand to continue their operations with impunity from the sanctuaries in the neighboring countries in the heart of Kabul and other major provinces while the limited capacity of the Afghan government, remains the biggest threat to the process of turning security gains into a durable and sustainable Afghanistan.
More importantly, the Afghan government continues to face widespread corruption within which is the main hurdle towards its effectiveness and legitimacy while this bolsters the insurgent messaging… The capacity of the Afghan government and the extension of effective governance and rule of law have been limited by multiple factors, including widespread corruption, limited Afghan government capacity, and uneven concentration of power among the judicial, legislative and executive branches. This supports the Taliban-led insurgency to remain adaptive and determine with a significant regenerative capacity and retain the capability to conduct isolated high-profile attacks in every parts of the region.
Taliban and Haqqani network are building up their capabilities in their sanctuaries and focusing on increasing their influence in Afghanistan through intimidation and terror attacks on key Afghan officials, exploiting their links to friendly tribal groups and power brokers, and taking advantage of the drug trade in the south and east. The insurgents can lose every major tactical engagement but still win control in some areas once U.S. and ISAF forces are gone.
Reading the current ground realities, a common mind suggests that increasing the coalition military operations and capacitating the Afghan forces will give a good response to the ongoing challenges caused by the Taliban-led insurgency and its Al-Qaeda affiliates. The evidence from the field also suggests that the military drawdown will not only worsen the situation and political stability, but will also expand the enemy’s high-profile attacks in various parts of the region that will completely shutter-down both the political and social progress and gains as the Taliban and Haqqani militants strike in well-guarded parts of the region.
The news reports with grave concerns appear that Afghan people are seeing a huge increase in Taliban and its Al-Qaeda affiliates in some major parts of the region. According to the Senate and House intelligence committees of U.S appearing on CNN’s State of the Union program weeks ago, Taliban are gaining some major ground and that they are bound to accelerate once the NATO troops give way to Afghan-led forces. What they mean is, Taliban are getting stronger and returning to their losses, and that the current situation offers a greater threat to the world’s stability with particular focus on Afghanistan’s both political and social stability. There are elements, indicating that they do not want to see political stability restored in this region.
According to analysts and world’s political think-tanks while reading the complex challenges on the ground, the terrorism must be rooted out and cracked-down completely before any initiatives are taken for a complete withdrawal from the region till 2014. The world must perceive that the Taliban use peace talks to re-group and emerge even stronger and that will be a threat not only to Afghanistan but to the world at large. They talk about peace talks to regain their power and losses.
It is just a fantasy that the Afghan forces are capable of restoring peace and stability, the reality is, the security situation has become the worst since the security responsibility is transferred to Afghan forces and people are extremely worried about their future when they see the ongoing corruption, disloyalty and dishonesty among the official authorities. The current situation on the ground suggests that corruption and disloyalty to such extend in the government framework will offer other miseries to this war-torn nation while our political leaders are only engaged in bolstering the enemy to win minority for their votes for the next presidential position.
The challenges today Afghanistan faces are to full extend critical and the maters of grave concern for the world’s politicians. Afghanistan is steeped in complex issues but are bound to be negotiated with world’s bold initiatives and that requires the world’s attention to only become an active citizens in the fight against world’s biggest threat “Al-Qaeda” who have spoiled the world’s peace and stability.
The world must not give up on Afghanistan to make it fall in the hand of the Taliban once again and become a safe-haven for the world’s terrorists, until they see someone who makes a bold commitment from the core of his heart for his nation and homeland.
The Article First Published in Daily Outlook Afghanistan Group of Newspapers on May 21, 2012.