By Mujeeb R. Awrang
KABUL: War in Afghanistan, especially after the US signed a peace agreement with the Taliban in Doha on February 29th, has changed its silhouette and has further added insult to the Afghan injury.
The country’s big cities have seen a reduction in major bombing attacks somehow but the target killings and assassinations remained high; also the rural areas are still rigging in clashes between the militants and the Afghan security forces. The insurgents do not assert responsibility for the majority of the attacks – mostly the one that kills and maims civilians.
The insurgents mostly now depend on roadside bombing, hit-run assassination and attacks on the security forces checkpoints. It’s quite disturbing to see that 127 civilians lost their lives and 291 others wounded in the attacks conducted by the Taliban within one last month.
Civilians have always been the main victims of the conflict that spilled over for more than four decades. The insecurity has directly and indirectly affects their lives.
Based on a report from the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission at least 1,213 civilians (126 women-225 children) were killed and 1,744 others (171 women-405 children) maimed during the first six months of 2020.
The statistics show 11 percent decrease in civilian casualties compared to 2019.
However the US-Taliban deal included an 80 percent decrease in violence by the Taliban, the group was responsible for 48.5 percent of the casualties. Despite killing and maiming, the ongoing war has put several other impacts on the poor community.
Millions of youths scrambling with joblessness as the government failed to provide a suitable security for the private sectors to invest and raise employment. Although the government statistics show that 67 percent of the 33 million populations is contributed by the young generation with under the age of 24.
The Afghans also gripped with uncertainty due to covid-19 pandemic amid a feeble healthcare system. Over 35,000 positive cases have been registered and more than 1,000 patients lost their lives battling the virus so far, according to health officials.
Moreover, the initial phase of the US-Taliban deal remained indecisive and the Taliban were accused of not remaining committed to their promise of reducing violence. The US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said the Taliban had been true to their word not to attack US and NATO troops but he chastised increased insurgent attacks on Afghan security forces.
The Taliban militants have been insisting on release of their 5,000 prisoners under Afghan government custody before to sit in talks with the Kabul peace force.
Over 4,000 Taliban prisoners were released so far, according to the National Security Council. However the council said that 592 inmates, who are behind big crimes, would not be released. Off around 700 Afghan security forces freed by the Taliban, the government said that 175 of them were civilians
What we can really see here is that the lack of trust building between the government and Taliban could potentially put the reconciliation process at deadlock. The Taliban can present the government with a new list of their prisoners if the insurgent is really willing to start the talks. This is not rational to gain privilege by killing or wounding innocent people. It is time for the warring parties to build trust, think logical, and end the longest bloodshed in the country. The conflict sides should really stop nagging and work to resolve their problems before this war takes the lives of thousands of others.