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The blockade of Naray district in Kunar

It feels as if residents of Kunar—an eastern but highly Taliban-infested province, have no saviors. Taliban’s siege and blockade of Naray district of Kunar, is the central pillars of a policy of economic warfare aimed at punishing the entire population of the district for taking up arms against Taliban.

Their collective life has been much miserable at the hands of the insurgent Taliban. The residents of Kunar province have become highly ignored people in this land because the Taliban have put blockade to a district road but nobody from the government has taken notice of it despite the passage of fourth day. The Taliban have unleashed atrocities in this province for long however for inexplicable reason while the government has failed in liberating residents of the area, so far.  The longest war indeed has affected residents of Kunar province where the Taliban have not only challenged writ of the government but forced hundreds of families to escape. Just a month back, Afghan and Pakistani Taliban attacked civilian houses, plundered their belongings and distributed them as booty of the war. When a fierce military operation was launched, the Taliban started using civilians as human shield, which made it difficult for security forces to completely weed them out.

And then we got the news of this road closure that connects Naray district of the province to the capital city Asad Abad. At last who will liberate people of this area from the cruelties of the barbaric Taliban?  When Kunar is at the center of the storm, policymakers and security strategists look running out of the road. Shujaul Mulk Jalala, governor of the province says that for the past four days the road has been blocked by Taliban.

He says Taliban heavily planted landmines along the road. It means the road is not only unsafe for military convoys but also for civilians. The incident is reminiscent of Taliban’s barbarism in Azra district of Logar province when they put blockade to this district for five months where many people including children had died of extreme situation—such as lack of food and medicines. Naray district shouldn’t repeat the history of Azra district. Though Naray district has started showing the signs of Azra because edibles prices have soared, people are being faced with shortage of life saving drugs, and people are cut off from the rest of the country. Last week militants blew up a school and clinic in this district.

And when then found security lapses they put blockade to the road. The aim of the Taliban is to make this district gangrenous. However why the government should allow any space for such a happening? Since the atrocities of the Taliban started perpetuating, civilians took arms against the Taliban in many parts of the district and perhaps now the Taliban want to take revenge. If the government didn’t rush forward and deploy security forces and border police, situation will turn from bad to worse and the troubles of the people will go many notches higher. Unfortunately consuming its energies on combating insurgency, liberating eastern parts of the country from the clutches of militants, our political elites look busy in making deals and running after ministries. When the war has put ordinary people at greater risk, political leaders of the country have turned a blind eye to what’s happening in the countryside. Because of flawed security approach, civilian casualties have hit 10,000 in 2014, the highest yearly total of dead and injured since the United Nations began keeping records in 2008. Over 75 percent of the deaths and injuries have been inflicted by Taliban’s attacks. Over 700 families have been forced from their houses in Kunar and more than 50 houses have been reduced to rubbles. Now is the time the government should come into movement and do something.

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