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Enduring agony of elusive peace

Over the past few months, Afghanistan has witnessed waves of terror attacks that have almost always victimized the innocent civilians of the country. On top of that, peace talks between the parties into conflict who play with the fate of the peace-thirsty Afghans broke down when the US President Donald Trump called them off after the group claimed responsibility for a Kabul terror attack. In a fresh bout of violence, at least 62 worshippers were killed and more than 32 others wounded in two back-to-back bomb blasts that ripped through a mosque during Friday’s prayers in the Haska Mena district of eastern Nangarhar province. Appallingly, this shows people are not safe in the places of worship anymore. The victims also included children and there has been so far no claim of responsibility for the attack but both Taliban and Daesh militants operate in the province. This comes as the Taliban on Wednesday took responsibility for a suicide bombing near the Alishang district’s police headquarters in Laghman that claimed the lives of two security forces personnel and injured 26 other people – including children students studying at a nearby Madrassa.

These heinous and brazen acts which are against all humanitarian principles, as well as Islamic teachings, have recently spiked to record-high levels. Figures released on Thursday by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) revealed that at least 2,563 civilians were killed and 5,676 wounded in the first nine months of this year as insurgents were blamed for 62 percent of the casualties. Also, the UN mission said more civilians were killed in July than in any previous one-month period since it started keeping statistics in 2009. Meanwhile, for the first time this year, the report said, insurgents were responsible for more casualties than US and pro-government forces. However, the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid –turning a blind eye to the insurgent fighters’ own deadly attacks– said the UNAMA report tended to exaggerate the casualties caused by the militant movement. To one’s great surprise, he added: “We reject the UN report on civilian casualties as flawed and unilateral.”

There are no more words to cry foul at and categorically denounce these different kinds of horrific events in all forms and manifestations as people are no longer safe in their homes, streets and even mosques or any other place. These appalling crimes against Afghans indicate an urgent need for all parties to the conflict to resume the peace talks whose sine qua non should be a nationwide ceasefire, something that should subsequently lead to a permanent political settlement to the conflict. The perpetrators of the mosque attack in Nangarhar are neither Afghans nor Muslims because the violence they are waging is unbecoming of humans and Muslims. By and large, peace has remained elusive for Afghans who are bearing the brunt of this never-ending man-made disaster. The parties into conflict should work for seeking a peaceful settlement because neither side has so far been able to win militarily. They shouldn’t turn a deaf ear to Afghans’ agony and their calls for peace.

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