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Mistake or war crime

Afghanistan is teetering on the brink of large scale violence as the policymakers are not bothered by the news of growing Taliban power and emergency of the dreaded Islamic State which is known as Daesh in the region. Perhaps, this is the major reason that enabled the Taliban to capture Kunduz province within no time. If the government had been taken steps at the first place to improve the security situation, when the Taliban insurgents flanked by foreigners seized control of a few districts in Kunduz, the National Unity Government (NUG) had not been embarrassed now.

Taliban and other terrorist groups such as Lashker-e-Toiba and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan are challenging writ of the Afghan government aggressively. Failure of the government to reverse the Taliban’s ability to strike at such a large scale is annoying general public and intelligentsia. Inattention of the relevant authorities afflicts all segments of the society. If the status quo in the power circle was not challenged then it is feared that the war will drag on despite international support.

At such a critical juncture the US airstrikes on a hospital in Kunduz is humiliating and extremely unfortunate. The hospital where the Doctors without Borders staff were busy in providing emergency healthcare services to the injured was sole hope of the locals because the government and its allies were out of the sight at the critical time. The airstrikes are explicitly in contravention of the human rights. Attacks on civilian homes, schools and hospitals have traumatized the nation since arrival of the NATO forces in the country. These attacks also speak volumes about precision of the US forces in targeting militants.

The reason cited by Ministry of Interior’s spokesman Siddiq Siddiqi is that 10 to 15 Taliban fighters were hiding in the hospital. Even if the militants were hiding there then why the US forces viewed patience so calamitous and prepared to kill 19 people and injure many others, especially civilians who were going under treatment. Neither the interior ministry’s spokesman nor the US government can justify killing of innocent people and health workers. Furthermore, the ministry cannot divert public attention from its failure to respond quickly to the threats by hurling such statements. The attacks which violated the International Humanitarian Law should be investigated. Those who authorized the airstrikes should be brought to the court of justice.

If the officials were allowed to enjoy impunity then chances are high that people who are ostensibly peaceful and supporting the government would take a turn towards violence and support the insurgents. The NUG leaders shall put an end to the legacies that increased trust deficit between public and the government. No one should be above the law or allowed to attack civilians in angst.

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