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Editorial: Mysterious attack

In the run-up to long-anticipated intra-Afghan talks, the violence continues to victimize Afghans. The fierce and desperate calls for a ceasefire or even a reduction in violence are going unanswered. In a recent bout of violence, the convoy of Afghanistan’s First Vice President, Amrullah Saleh, was targeted in the heart of capital Kabul. At least 10 civilians were confirmed killed and over 20 others were wounded in the explosion. However, the Taliban insurgent group denied their involvement in the attack, for which nobody else claimed responsibility. This comes as the Taliban are recently being accused of a fresh wave of assassinations in Kabul, primarily meant to increase pressure on the government and gain leverage in the peace talks. Amid ratcheted-up efforts for the start of intra-Afghan talks, such horrible incidents diminish Afghans’ hopes for peace in the country. The attack on Saleh is mysterious, yet indicative of the Afghanistan enemies’ strong resolve to get him out of the picture. He survived a similar attack on his office last year as soon as he declared his candidacy for the vice presidency. This recent attack also comes as final preparations are underway for the direct negotiations between the Taliban and a group of government and opposition members. Saleh constantly being targeted could be seen to be provoked by his staunch opposition to the Taliban and his patriotic stance on national issues. A few days back, he made it clear that he was irreconcilable with the Taliban but would avoid being e a hurdle in the peace negotiations. Moreover, on the Durand Line, he said he won’t give the Afghan territory as a gift to Pakistan because Peshawar used to be the winter capital of Afghanistan. Such remarks of his undoubtedly make him the prime target of both the Pakistani intelligence and the Taliban. However, the Taliban denied their involvement in the attack on him. Considering the circumstances, it seems the Taliban have adopted a strategy to carry out attacks but avoid taking credit for them. Such attacks could only be conducted by the group considering its size and reach in the country. The group is also capable of exploiting the hectic situation in the country because other terrorist groups are also waging war and violence. Although the government officials use peace literature and show to be in favor of peace, there is nothing like that seen in the insurgents’ group stance. Recently, Head of the High National Reconciliation Council (HNRC) Abdullah Abdullah said the chapter of enmity with the Taliban should be closed for the sake of Afghanistan’s integrity and future. Therefore, the Taliban should also reveal their resolve in terms of peace because their violence and reluctance to accept a truce are giving rise to such incidents and making people believe that they are not sincere about the peace process. Thus, the ceasefire should top the agenda of the intra-Afghan talks, whose initiation shouldn’t be further delayed, in order to avoid killing Afghan civilians as collateral of the continuing war.  

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