Spending about a year negotiating with the Taliban, the US envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad says US has reached a peace deal in principle – pending the approval of Afghan president and his US counterpart –to pull 5,400 troops out of Afghanistan in 135 days. Concurring with Khalilzad’s interview which was being broadcasted by local Afghan TV channel, a powerful explosion jolted Kabul city at around 10pm on Monday night, killing 16 civilians and workers of the Green Village Camp, a large compound that houses aid agencies and international organizations. Another 119 people, including local residents and children were wounded in the blast. While the intelligence and security forces have always been under fire as to how huge bombs enter Kabul city, the Monday night’s explosion caused by a tractor packed with explosives that had been parked alongside a wall by Green Village yet again blackened the Afghan security forces reputation as an able force to protect Afghans in the heart of Afghanistan. This fiercest spell of violence waged by the Taliban deliberately and implicitly shows the overblown group’s upper hand in the peace talks who would thus receive concessions and enjoy more privilege.
The bombing is the third major Taliban attack in as many days – and the violence is likely to continue. Last Saturday, the Taliban attempted to seize Kunduz in the north, and on Sunday, they launched an operation in the city of Pul-i-Khumri, the capital city of neighboring Baghlan province, and then this horrific bombing happened – one thing is common in all these which is the sufferingof civilians, whoalways bear the brunt of such attacks. The Taliban justifytheir assaults by claiming to target foreign forces; however, 400 foreign nationals escaped unhurt but 16 innocent Afghans were killed. Green Village is a fortified complex of concrete blast walls and steel gates protected by armed guards. Taliban know they could never enter it because such compounds have been attacked repeatedly over the years, but the main victims are often Afghan civilians living in the surrounding area. This means insurgents are in fact pumped up by the US and they believe and are convinced it is their military strength which has forced Washington to open talks with them on a withdrawal.
Interestingly, Khalilzad himself says the US wants to cut back on its expenses in Afghanistan, implying the peace in Afghanistan was a good means and a fig leaf to achieve that end. Such remarks emboldens the group which expects to have the lion’s share in peace talks. As the US is seemingly leaving Afghanistan in the lurch, it would have been better the country hadn’t inflated the group this much by giving it international stage and recognition, but rather the group should have been pressurized and forced into talks with the Afghans first. Afghans want peace more than anything else, but don’t want to lose thousands of citizens while peace deals, which they aren’t part of, are allegedly being finalized. The people expect decrease in violence amid advances in peace negotiations; however, the current situation is in fact the other way around. The US and the government should jointly reciprocate a strong and tit-for-tat response.Now, these major assaults underline doubts about whether this seemingly faux peace deal would lead to an end to violence because the aggrandized Taliban don’t seem to stop. They won’t eschew violence and this situation augurs ill for the country and seems to have been deliberately provoked to erupt another civil war in Afghanistan.