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Editorial: The perilous but optimistic path ahead

Back-to-Back acts of terrorism – regardless of advancement in the US-Taliban peace process – across the war-wrecked country once again highlighted the perils lying ahead in the Afghans’ quest for peace.

Zealous Afghans in every nook and cranny of the country on August 19 took to streets in celebrations marking the centennial of Afghanistan’s Independence Day– despite the cultural committee responsible for the celebrations of 100th anniversary of Independence Day had said that due to security challenges, celebration will be only held in Kabul.

As expected, the Independence festivities were shrouded in blood as grief and disbelief regarding peace redoubled when several bombs went off at restaurants and in public squares throughout the city of Jalalabad and a horrific blast targeted a wedding hall in capital city Kabul a day before Independence Day – killing and wounded scores of people. As a result, the ceremonies in Kabul were postponed indefinitely to honor the victims of the Saturday’s attack – which claimed the lives of 63 people and wounded another 182. The Daesh group claimed responsibility, saying they targeted the followers of Shiite sect.

These acts show that although Afghan flags waved and the melody of patriotic songs pervaded the air on Independence Day, the country still faces colossal challenges in the security realm. These challenges need a response commensurate with the gravity of the crisis. Despite we see tremendous progress made in regards to peace process between the US and the Taliban, the continuation of cowardly attacks manifest the desperation of terrorist outfits and spoilers as hopes for peace, stability and national unity are growing stronger.

In the chronology of horror unleashed by Daesh, any place where men, women and children can be found going about their daily lives constitutes a legitimate target. The increased foothold and activity of Daesh and such other spoilers and terrorist groups pose a grave threat to Afghan peace. While at times it appears that the Afghan peace process is on its way to a resolution, at others it seems as if there are miles to go before stability and calm can be achieved. As Afghanistan is in a state of flux now, all Afghan parties – including the government and the Taliban in the event of peace with them –must reach a modus vivendiat the earliest possible and come together in solidarity to collectively root out terrorism in Afghanistan.

As for the US, which is trying to stage a withdrawal and wash hands of Afghanistan, it shouldn’t turn its back after peace with the Taliban but help in eliminating terrorism in Afghanistan by supporting the Afghans in post-peace situation to eradicate terrorist groups and Daesh or so-called IS – a group which came to being amid US presence in Afghanistan.

The spoilers of Afghan peace and tranquility should know they won’t reach their goals and that Afghanistan – despite being a theatre of war between super powers – has been independent and will remain independent for thousands of years ahead. All is not lost for Afghanistan because by zealously celebrating the centennial of wresting back independence from Britain in the face of security challenges, the country showed that it would stand resilient in front of such acts of violence and nefarious designs. Given the status quo, the country seems to be embarking on a perilous but an optimistic path ahead.

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