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Editorial: Terrorism is condemned

A deadly scourge of violence has descended upon Afghanistan, precipitating the internecine war and human suffering and dashing hopes for peace. Violence has reached a crescendo with a paroxysmal burst of brutal attacks against the civilian population and the brave Afghan forces.

A terrorist attack killed 24 people, mostly students, in western Kabul on Saturday. ISIS terrorist group claimed responsibility but many say it was the Taliban, considering the intensity of their countrywide attacks. Peace talks in Qatar have also failed to help curb violence in the country, dashing hopes for peace.

The attack prompted widespread denunciation by religious scholars of Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s prominent Ulema and clerics condemned the ongoing war and bloodshed in Afghanistan and urged the warring parties to stop the war. They even stated that the Afghan war is rooted in a tussle for power.

The echoes of this condemnation reverberated loudly in the South Asian nation of Bangladesh where clerics are taking a touch line against the escalating conflict, a sharp escalation in rhetoric against terrorism and violence. Prominent Ulema, Sheikhs, and Muftis of Bangladesh issued a fatwa on Monday calling an end to the war and the establishment of peace in Afghanistan. They supported the intra-Afghan dialogue in Qatar, calling it important for peace in Afghanistan.

Civilians have been hanging by a thread amidst a recent escalation of insurgent onslaughts and massacres in the months following a peace deal that was hammered out against overwhelming odds between the United States and the Taliban.

There was much euphoria in the US command about the momentous accord, but Afghans saw it as a boondoggle just like America’s futile war on terrorism, and a strategic folly to bypass the Afghan government. Unsurprisingly, the deal degenerated into a watered-down compromise after a tug-of-war broke out between Americans and militants when both started incriminating each other for violating the deal after the Helmand crisis.

The magnanimity and scale of the problem hit when the US military stopped all offensive operations against the Taliban as part of a quid pro quo to get the insurgents to relent on Afghan government and negotiate a political settlement to end the conflict. Even though the accord drew militants closer to Afghan government, it emboldened the Taliban and afforded them the mystique and latitude they always wanted in the theatre of war and the legitimacy and leverage they hankered after in the negotiating table.

Terrorism in Afghanistan is far more complicated than these mere assumptions. The Islamic State terrorist group killed at least 24 people in a suicide bombing outside an education center in west of Kabul. This rings the terrifying alarm bells of the resurgence of ISIS in Afghanistan, which runs ridiculously contrary to the claim that the Islamic State has been defeated and neutralized. This incident smacks of a conspiracy and cunning realpolitik to prolong the war and help sustain Taliban and ISIS war machine in Afghanistan. We are being kept in the shadows, and the stark reality is that the counterterrorism operation is in shreds, and in despite of prodigious quantity of funds funneled into it and the innumerable human costs, terrorists have become stronger.

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