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2019: End of yet another decade of war

The previous year witnessed a myriad of security, political and electoral issues

AT News

KABUL: Although 2019 was called a ‘year of peace’, the level of casualties inflicted on people throughout the year was relatively higher. However, the year eventually came to an end with multiple political, security, economic and electoral issues and criticisms.

During the year, in addition to the Taliban attacks, the Afghan and foreign troops intensified their air and ground operations, which resulted in the killing of many civilians.

A few examples are the foreign forces’ airstrike in Nangarhar that killed 25 workers and the operation by joint forces, which perished 11 innocent people in Paktia.

Meanwhile, the Taliban and Daesh attacks were also in full swing through the period. The bombing in Kabul Dubai Hotel by Daesh which took the lives of 63 people and the Haska Mena bombing in Nangarhar by the Taliban that killed 62 people are a few cases in point.

According to a statement by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), at least 2,563 civilians had been killed and 5,676 others wounded solely during the first nine months of the last year.

2019 is dubbed a crucial year from the perspective of democracy as well because it saw the conduct of the presidential and parliamentary polls, which were accompanied by numerous issues, fraudulent practices and objections.

In the wake of the fraud-tainted parliamentary election, people had turned wary and only a tiny fraction of Afghanistan population (over one million people) participated in the presidential polls, whose preliminary results were delayed for three months – something that drew harsh criticism from candidates.

Meanwhile, combating administrative corruption was incumbent President Ghani’s manifesto but the drive against administrative corruption in 2019 is dubbed ineffective by experts.

This is while the Afghan government was termed as ‘corrupt’ in an international conference on prevention of corruption in the presence of Afghanistan’s vice president.

The year was also not better for Afghans in terms of employment because there weren’t enough job opportunities for people and according to recent figures, the poverty rate reached 54 percent in the country.

Moreover, at least 10 journalists, political analysts and media workers lost their lives.

In addition, US President Trump’s surprise visit to Bagram Airbase is considered another important occurrence in the year. However, President Ghani’s receiving of him in Bagram was fiercely criticized as some called it an action against national sovereignty and diplomatic norms.

Besides, 2019 was relatively a successful year in terms of the peace process over the past two decades. Nine rounds of peace talks were conducted in Qatari capital of Doha between the Taliban and US negotiators. For the first time, the Afghan politico met the Taliban twice in Moscow and once in Qatar.

However, some political experts and Wolesi Jirga members claim the government missed out on numerous peace opportunities as there were many dissenting voices raised against the peace process by the government’s side on various pretexts.

On the other hand, despite all this analysis, the Presidential Palace believe that 2019 was a better-off year in terms of security, political situation and economics compared to previous years as the government had significant achievements in these spheres.

All in all, 2019 comes to an end while witnessing countless political, security, economics and electoral issues. However, the Taliban and the US negotiators were not able to achieve a peace deal but there have been some rumors of consultations on agreeing upon a temporary ceasefire.

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