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At war without support

The Taliban had launched the warm-season offensive and there is no sign of a ceasefire. The Islamic State or Daesh has fixed eyes on Central Asia, Iran and China. Afghan security personnel are rendering sacrifices on a daily basis in Badakhshan, Kunduz and other parts of the country. Passengers and government officials are kidnapped and killed. Law and order situation is deteriorating rapidly. In a nutshell, Afghanistan is at the height of the war. However, the United States and our other allies have not made up their mind so far to support the Afghan law enforcement agencies despite signing the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with Washington and Status of Forces Agreement with the NATO.

Troubled by the constant news headlines about growing insecurity and the ineffectiveness of the BSA, the Meshrano Jirga or Senate called up Tuesday the National Security Council Adviser Muhammad Hanif Atmar for explanations. Atmar acknowledged that Daesh is a regional threat and told that a Pakistani militant leader Hafiz Saeed was supporting the group. His statement on the BSA is jaw-dropping for many as he said the US has not been approached for support by the government, and besides that the American forces do not take part in operations as it is the responsibility of the Afghan security forces.

However, Article 2 of the BSA says the US would develop the capabilities of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) including strengthening of the air force, develop intelligence sharing capabilities and conducting combined military exercises to ensure the security of all Afghans. The article also says that upon request of the Afghan government the US would urgently provide support to the ANSF to deter the threats. According to the security agreement, the American forces would launch operations to defeat al-Qaida and its affiliates.

Therefore, it is clear that the US along with its allies should eliminate Daesh and other terrorist organizations that are posing serious threat to Afghans and Afghanistan. Moreover, intelligence regarding these groups should be shared with the Afghan authorities. Unfortunately, the Islamic State emerged and moved from south to north, but neither the Afghan security agencies nor the US noticed it. Since the government accepts that Daesh is a national and regional threat, then why Kabul has not approached Washington for support.

No doubt,  the ANSF should take the lead, but has to be supported by the foreign troops as the Taliban have launched the spring offensive and trying to control as many areas as they can. Islamic State is another serious threat. If these threats persist and the insurgents’ ability to carry out terror activities were not reversed, then there is no use of the BSA.  We should seriously ponder that what has tied the hands of the Afghan officials if the US is ready to help but has not been requested.

To deal with the horrendous situation we should call on our allies to support our troops. Most importantly, the United States should respond quickly to the threats to pour oil on troubled waters; otherwise the war will drag on.

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