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Editorial: Breaking the grip of terror

ESCALATION of violence and the hardline Taliban’s unrestrained rampage across Afghanistan is now the stark reality and the inevitability many feared would haunt Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US-led troops.

The insurgents have always threatened to hold sway after foreign troops draw down. US-led and NATO troops are more than halfway through their withdrawal, winding down a 20-year war that has failed to defeat the Taliban that ruled Kabul before being ousted in 2001.

This year is proving to be the bloodiest year as people in hundreds are killed mercilessly in execution-style massacres and targeted killings and thousands taking up the gauntlet to flee the terrible fighting or the rule of the troglodytic Taliban.

The impact on civilians, including the most vulnerable Afghans, is devastating. Civilians are caught in the grip of conflict and take the strain for a catastrophic resurgence of militancy. Their wrath is suppressed and they are not solaced a whit for their anguish. Afghans are bearing the brunt of a fiasco, a failure of the United States and all its allies to dismantle what was left of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Now militants wielding firearms raid towns, districts, public places, vehicles and cowardly massacre.

Afghanistan is also mired by a dilemma; its peace process has failed and war has intensified. The terrorists have taken control of our important ports and key crossing points. Spin Boldak that is close to Pakistan has been infested by the Taliban and now there are fears that Pakistani militias are sneaking into the country in droves. This is a disaster that doesn’t bear on the Afghan people but is a dark truth about how fast the Taliban have gained control of strategic flashpoint where Pakistan has been yearning to control.

The U.S. has faltered in what it called war on terrorism. The military-first strategy for resolving the Afghanistan conflict hasn’t made Afghans safer. At worst, it raised the temperature of the conflict to a boil. Now that the U.S. is leaving, it is making sure our problems remain ours and they won’t do anything about it. They are happy as long as the Taliban mean no harm to them and how they rule Afghanistan or what could befall us doesn’t matter to them.

Instead of waging this war, Americans could have helped us fortify our borders to prevent terrorists from crossing. Americans had invaded our country to assumedly break the grip of totalitarianism and barbarism of the Taliban, but they actually made them stronger by clinching a strategic deal with them. They are now leaving us alone with a nascent defense force and a young democracy and probably so much trouble to grind us. This melancholy could end only if Afghanistan is unchained from the heavy shackles of Pakistan’s state-sponsored terrorism and Taliban radicalism and if these clueless and narrow-minded extremist forces and their delinquents are abolished.

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