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Editorial: Reopening roads

This is a tough year for the National Unity Government (NUG). Challenges are many. Survival of the government and future of this country will depend on the decisions made by the leaders in the power center. The wiser the decisions, the chances of survival and development would be high. Productive policies do not mean to launch large-scale military offensives against the insurgents and eliminate them because it is not possible sans support of the regional countries where the Taliban, Haqqani Network and other militant groups have safe havens. To eliminate extremism and terrorism, there is need for joint anti-terror mechanism at the regional and global level.

Unfortunately, Afghanistan is not supported by the neighboring countries who are the main players in this second Cold War or the great game. These players don’t see terrorism and militancy as common goal but an issue faced only by Afghanistan. They think their stability is not linked to stable Afghanistan. Therefore, they are going on a narrow and dangerous path. They would realize their mistakes when nothing will be left to repair. At such a critical situation the Afghan government needs its own comprehensive policies to counter militancy. It will not happen unless the ground realities and factors fueling insurgency were kept in view.

If the security officials understand strategies of the militant groups only then they would be able to counter these anti-state elements on all fronts. One of the major tactics employed by the extremists in Afghanistan is the closure of roads. Taliban and other groups do so purposely. They do not care about miseries of local populations. They see their victory in the battlefield by using such evil tactics. They know that reinforcement will put a quick end to their siege. These groups can cross any limit in pursuit of their evil designs.

Pursuing the nefarious goals, the militants have closed roads in four districts of Uruzgan. Over the past 37 days, roads of the provincial capital, Uruzgan Khas, and four other districts which are strategically important are blocked for civilians. Representative of Uruzgan in the Wolesi Jirga, Obaidullah Barakzai, warned of possible fall of the province to the Taliban if the roads were not reopened. According to the lawmaker roads in the four districts are closed since 2015. Sadly, the government is not paying heed to the problem though it was shared with the relevant authorities several times. Residents of Jawzjan province have also expressed concerns over growing insecurity on Shiberghan-Sar-i-Pul highway.

The issue will become very serious if the government failed to take steps on the war footing. Therefore, the first priority of the leaders should be to focus on reopening of the roads and improving security on highways.

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