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Editorial: Khanabad has fallen

After deadly clashes between the small number of security forces and the Taliban, the militants succeeded in seizing control of Khanabad district of Kunduz province. The district is very important from strategic point of view because it connects Kunduz with Takhar. The district chief of Khanabad, Hayatullah Amiri, confirmed fall of Khanabad to the militants. He also pointed out to flaws in the security policy. Amiri said that they had fought for hours but there was no support to push back the Taliban. Capture of Khanabad has marked another victory for militant group and another defeat for the current government. The official claimed that government forces had retaken the district from the insurgents. The Taliban has not confirmed it. In southern and northern provinces of the country, the Taliban have launched large-scale attacks to capture strategic districts.

It seems the government is not learning from its mistakes. The National Unity Government (NUG) is in passive mode. The quest for ultimate power has kept the leaders and policymakers busy. Preferring personal interests over national interests have put the security officials, governors and public at difficult situation. For long we have blamed certain countries for interference in Afghanistan’s affairs. However, we have not realized that our leaders most of the time foreign support to remain in power. Therefore, most of the policies for the Afghan government are drafted by foreigners or at least advice Kabul on what to do and what not.

The inattention and greed for power have fueled insecurity across the country. As of today (Saturday), heavy fighting is underway in eastern Nangarhar’s Hesarak district. The provincial police spokesman, Hazrat Hussain Mashriqiwal, confirmed large-scale attack in the district. He claimed that the attack has been repelled and dozens of insurgents including foreigners were killed by Afghan security forces. Failure of the Taliban does not mean that they would not launch a second attack to capture the district.

Therefore, the time is ripe to ponder over the current security policies and plug the loopholes. It will be better to throw these inconclusive, failed and obsolete policies into trash-bin. The government will not succeed in the war against terrorism and insurgency unless new conclusive and well-calculated strategies were chalked out. First, the government should end the ongoing political crisis but forging unity in the ranks. Differences between the leaders are making it difficult for the commanders on the ground to focus on their mission. Second, air support should be provided promptly to the ground forces in the insecure districts. Delay in reinforcement has been a major cause of confusion and frustration.

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