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Editorial: False claim

In a Dec. 31 post on al-Emarah, Taliban propagandist Zabihullah lashed out again, falsely claiming Afghan forces martyred 27 civilians in 19 “attacks.” None of this is true; the people of Afghanistan and the international community agree these statements are nothing but lies which hurt the peace process. And the Taliban are preparing to increase their lies – the Taliban recently hired more media teams for their al-Emarah studio to create propaganda videos for social media. Instead of spreading false propaganda, maybe the Taliban should instead focus on becoming part of the future of Afghanistan. There are so many things to do – namely to repair the damage the Taliban continues to cause to public roadways, bridges, power lines, and cellular networks. The Taliban could abolish their practice of forcing people from their homes during the cold of winter; they could discontinue their practice of exacting tolls on roadways, which deprive hard-working Afghans of their deserved income. They could allow medical workers to distribute polio vaccine and treat the ill in Taliban-held areas. They could stop creating massive environmental disasters, like the 151,416 liters of fuel they forced truckers to dump on the side of the Kabul-Kandahar highway in November. Not only did truck drivers suffer immense personal financial losses because of this action, but those fields will never be useable to grow crops again.

Instead of making false claims about building roads to help the populace, the Taliban could actually build roads and schools. Just two days ago, Zabihullah claimed the Taliban rebuilt roads in Helmand for the betterment of the people. He claimed the road was destroyed by pro-government forces. In reality, the Taliban destroyed the road. When it became necessary to use the road for their own military purposes, Taliban fighters forced locals, using their own materials and labor- to rebuild it. Then once the reconstruction was complete, they put explosives along the road and forced the locals to use unpaved dirt trails. In places like Delaram District, Nimroz, the Taliban directly target the roads poor Afghans rely on just to get access to food and water. Around December 16, they destroyed the road connecting Delaram to the Herat-Kabul highway. ANDSF are still trying to repair the road.

The Taliban could stop the use of car bombs which kill women, children and the labor force of this country. There are so many examples, like the December 21 bomb in Dowlatabad, Faryab. Although Taliban targeted an ANDSF checkpoint, they killed dozens of civilians and destroyed dozens of homes in the area. Their fighters could learn a trade to help build communities and provide for their families—one where they might come home alive at the end of the day. Zabihullah – instead of spreading propaganda, why not engage on improving this beautiful country? Our people are tired of seeing your photos of destruction. We want peace. Your words of war make you look like a dinosaur stuck in the past.

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