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Editorial: Another challenging year

Since the US-led coalition forces ended their combat role in December 2014, situation has become difficult. It was expected. Afghan security forces shouldered the overall responsibilities. Many security affairs’ analysts believed that Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) would be unable to repel militant attacks and maintain security. They miscalculated strength, spirit and capabilities of the ANSF because at one point they expected fall of the Afghan government. Despite lack of human, financial and material resources, the Afghan forces did good job to maintain security, though, last year was challenging. Major setback was fall of Kunduz City to Taliban on September 28 in 2015.

However, for the fall of Kunduz and other insecurity-related incidents, no one can blame the battlefield commanders and troops. It is the government which should be blamed for not filling the leadership vacuum by nominating a well-qualified person as defense minister. Lack of coordination, poor military strategies and snail-paced decision making process had deteriorated the security situation in the country. Last year has become a chapter of the National Unity Government’s (NUG) history. It will always remind the public of poor leadership qualities of all those controlling the power corridors. What has been done cannot be reversed but the NUG shall learn from its mistakes to overcome the challenges this year.

As there are no doubts that 2016 would be another challenging year for the government, the NUG should explore all available avenues to secure military assistance and political support to isolate Taliban and other insurgent groups that are not ready to join the peace process. Most of the responsibilities fall on shoulders of NATO and the United Nations because they had the power and resources to support Afghan government against the militants. They are also signatories of the defense pacts made with Afghanistan. NATO’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, is well-aware of the problems that Kabul is going to face. He also knows that this year the militants would launch attacks. Two days ago he predicted a difficult fight ahead for Afghanistan.

During a two-day visit to Kabul, he said that Daesh, al-Qaeda and the Taliban would maintain their attacks across the country this year. The chief of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Nicholas Haysom, also pointed out the challenging year in his briefing to the UN Security Council. He told the Security Council that the Taliban were not ready to talk to the Afghan government. This is a clear sign that the militant group is planning something very deadly. Therefore, Kabul should be supported to preserve the achievements and maintain security.

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