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Editorial: Phony kill list? A bizarre gambit

As Afghanistan is seemingly getting closer to the launch of intra-Afghan talks – sooner or later – there needs to be efforts made on building and institutionalizing peaceful mindsets and thinking among Afghans. On the contrary, those who are advocating achieving that end are being targeted and killed. A recent kill list supposedly associated with the Taliban circulating on social media contains the names of some key peace activists, politicians, government opposition figures, political experts and some media activists who are working for peace in the country. However, the Taliban strongly reject the report, accusing the government of the attempt. Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen says the Kabul government wants to silence the peace activists somehow. Now, the question is who would indulge in such nasty designs and who benefits the most if those designs are successful? The majority believes there are some circles and quarters within the government that want to create hurdles to peace in the country. Omar Zakhilwal, who is also on the target list, claimed he knew the group and the people behind this move and that he took threats seriously and wouldn’t ignore them. This is while we have witnessed an increase in targeted killings recently. A high-ranking Education Ministry employee was killed in a bomb blast in capital Kabul on Wednesday, the second attack in less than a week on peace and rights activists in the country, following an assassination attempt on Fawzia Kofi, a member of the government negotiating team. Whoever these people are, one thing is crystal clear that they are attempting to intimidate and weaken Afghanistan’s civil society before the intra-Afghan talks; or rather, eliminate them completely from the scene so they aren’t able to keep their voice up for the Afghan nation. By releasing a phony kill list, which is a bizarre gambit, they are trying to undermine peace efforts in the country. However, it shouldn’t be so. The Afghans must take threats seriously but continue their rightful endeavors for sustainable peace and stability in the country. Lamentably, spoilers and antagonists of peace – both within and without the country – are mobilizing at a far greater pace than peace advocates. At this juncture, the fake list needs to be investigated and the truth of the matter discovered – to verify if it’s really a fake list or another blame game tactic being played by the warring sides. The government must come to the fore and explain the allegations against it, as well as assure that how should it protect and secure the lives of its citizens.

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