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Editorial: No celebrations

Afghans are the only nation in the world always waiting for good news, but they did not celebrate the New Year. They know that the celebration will short live. Besides that, how can a group of youth celebrate the New Year’s Eve with parties and fireworks when relatives and neighbors are grieving the death of loved ones? The nation which was one of the happiest and developed in South Asia is desperately searching for joy and peace. It is the result of foreign invasions and interference which has no end in sight. Some black sheep have added to the injury. On the other hand, Afghans did not celebrate the New Year because they know that 2017 would claim more innocent lives as insurgents are now getting support of major regional players—who claim to be friends of Afghans.

Last year was full of sad news. Civilian casualties in the war are unabated. Minorities were attacked by global and regional terrorist organizations. Members of the Wolesi Jirga and provincial councils also came under attack. Target killing of government officials was another serious challenge. Some were lucky to survive. According to a report of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), 5,166 civilians were killed and injured in the first six months of 2016. The report on civilian casualties in 2016 has not been finalized. However, the details about the first six months show that one-third were children. No one is safe in the country because of warmongers.

In a nutshell it was a deadliest year both for combatants and non-combatants. Last year was also bloodiest for journalists. Nai, a media watchdog in the country, has recorded 415 cases of violence against media-persons. Fourteen journalists were killed and 23 injured in 2016. Numbers of the cases reveal that violence against journalists increased by 436 percent. Likewise, Ministry of Women’s Affairs has recorded 600 cases of violence against women in the first quarter of 2016. Insecurity was main push factor. Militants beheaded women in different parts of the country. Influential people also harassed and tortured women.

Political rivalries have also hampered development of the country and kept Afghans depressed in 2016. Tug of war between the top leaders over key ministries and governorships was a major setback for the nascent democracy and voters. Mass-migration of Afghans to Europe was another challenge.

Gradually decreasing international support is another sad phenomenon. A single terror incident in the developed countries does not go unnoticed. Afghans condemn terrorism of all colors and shapes. But it is injustice when the international community mourns the death of a few and ignores thousands. Afghanistan is infested with terrorists and no one is ready to hear voice of Afghans. Afghan war—never initiated by Afghans—has become a burden for the American people. The EU nations are also tired because the public support is all time low. These sad developments at national and international levels help us to understand why Afghans are not so optimistic about the New Year.

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