The rise in Taliban suicide bombings with large casualties in the capital Kabul and other major provinces have raised serious concern to the authorities and brought about great fear among the citizens at large.
What is especially worrying is that for all the efforts made to tackle the Taliban insurgents and its allied insurgency groups, the threat of terror seems to be worsening, greater than ever before, particularly in the last couple of months in a bid showing their strength.
The current suicide attack on a volleyball match in Yahya Khel district of Paktika that killed at least 50 people and injured more than 60 other civilians was another message to show that they are still strong enough. The suicide bombing occurred after the lower house of the Afghan parliament approved a security and defense agreement with the U.S. and a similar pact with NATO.
Taliban’s significant rise of deadly terrorist attacks on top officials, like vice-president, Abdul Rashid Dustom and Shukria Barakzai Afghan MP and other civilians in the heart of Kabul and in other major provinces are the silence indications of Taliban getting stronger with each passing day. Taliban escalated their violent attacks in the country since Ashraf Ghani Ahmad Zai took the leading responsibility.
There are even fears that ISIS may start getting stronger in Afghanistan and may even work with Taliban as ally. Wall-posts of ISIS with strong slogans of campaigning for Jihad were posted in several cities and towns, particularly in Kabul University where numbers of students have been arrested for their involvement with ISIS in enrolling youth members in the so-called Jihad with this fanatic Islamic fighters is an indication of their existence in the region.
Based on recent reports, these are just the beginning of local, individual initiatives. But the success of ISIS in the Middle East is unsettling many of those charged with keeping a lid on Afghanistan and Pakistan’s many extremist groups.
As of now, many Afghans doubt if Mr. Ghani’s prospects will be working to bring any permanent peace in the region through negotiations as the country even further steeped in bloodshed and insecurity challenges. Despite his active initiative in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and China in peace mediation under his leadership, the people are clouded with thousands of questions to know, why his government seems vulnerable against these persistent terrorist attacks, carried out by the Taliban and their allied fighters.
Their persistent terrorist movement in the heart of capital city affects not only the security status of the state but also decreases the level of investment, including other social, economical, educational and political efforts.Alongside reports of Taliban force growing in objective and military initiative with bold attacks, these numbers paint a worrying picture of the legacy that the 13-year-long US-led effort in Afghanistan may leave behind. Civilian and military casualties have reached a record high this year as the Taliban insurgency expands its deadly tactical attacks in various parts of the state, particularly in Kabul.
Based on the ground realities, developments on the battle field suggest that the Taliban are still more intent on fighting than to do compromise. UMAMA reports that Afghanistan suffers heavy rise in civilian casualties with 28 percent increase. The toll was 1,564 civilian deaths (up 17 percent) and 3,289 injuries (up 28 percent). The ground fighting caused about two of every five civilian fatalities in 2014, measuring for 39 percent of all civilian deaths: 1,901 in total, up 89 percent from 2013, with 474 civilian deaths and 1,427 were critically injured.
The total child deaths had risen 34 percent in the first six months of 2014 to 1,071, including 295 killed and 776 wounded. The total local women deaths boosted to 34 percent in the first six months of 2014. 295 killed and 776 injured while the overall women civilian casualties increased 24 percent.UNAMA further adds that the second main cause of civilian casualties in 2014 with 1,463 civilian deaths, up seven percent from 2013 were the improvised explosive devices used by the terrorist groups, the highest number of civilian deaths from this tactic recorded in a six-month period, since 2009.
The report also states that 13 percent increase in the use of remote-controlled (IEDs) of 205 incidents that left 637 local deaths and 487critical injuries. Of highest concern, 33 percent increase over 2013, caused by the use of vicious illegal pressure-plate IEDs experienced a resurgence in 2014 that killed 161 civilians and wounded 147, with a total 308 civilian deaths.
In the first half of 2014, the Taliban openly claimed responsibility for 147 attacks that took the lives of 553 local civilians and wounded 319. While Taliban fighters appeared to direct 76 of these attacks at military targets that indiscriminately harmed local civilians, 69 attacks advertently targeted civilians, including tribal elders, civilian government and justice sector employees.
As of now, the country suffers great challenges that need to be recovered with comprehensive approaches. The real challenge is not only to fill the set on the civilian and security sides but also to identify priorities, strategies, set at work plan and execute as a team, whereas diminishing the current security, economic, educational and other social and political challenges which are cracking down the country.
The responsibilities on the shoulders of the two talented leaders – Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abudllah are quite challenging whose relationship will determine the quality and efficiency of governance.
Since both leaders are ideologically alike in their worldview and are considered as moderate, it would be easier for them to talk face to face on issues, such as fighting radicalism, promoting social and economic development, private sector growth, stressing on democracy, rule of law and human rights protection.
This editorial was published in Daily Outlook Afghanistan Group of Newspapers on November 27, 2014.