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Forces need training and equipment

We sleep soundly at while thinking we have guardians at the gate and the frontiers. Throughout the history, our guardians have answered the call in bravery and sacrifice. However, what comes when they are ill-equipped particularly against a force like the Taliban? An official in the troubled Helmand province said that the strategic Musa Qala district has been facing insecurity as the security forces are ill-equipped and small in size. Sharif Khan, the district chief, said that reducing the size of security forces in the district has benefited Taliban who were planning to control several areas of the district. Amid such a situation, what Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani said Sunday, is really a glad tiding. Rabbani said training and supporting Afghan Security and Defense Forces (ANSDF) was Afghan government’s persistent demand in the recently held NATO’s foreign ministerial meeting, which was accepted. This time, when our men in uniform are rendering greatest sacrifices, the international community must ensure its military aid and training as it is part of the history that when the international community abandoned Kabul back in 1990s that triggered a bloody civil war. Afghan defense forces need support for a long time as a bloody war is still going on which is showing no signs of ending. But at the same time, there must be courage in the war and in the struggle to stop it. The problem is President Ashraf Ghani stressed too much on peace dialogues and little heed was given to security measures before the arrival of the Taliban’s Spring Offensive. Though, the Resolute Support Mission is there, and the NATO has decided to have a civil-military presence in the country beyond its current mission in 2016, which augers well for security development particularly training of Afghan security forces. As security threat is looming larger, Afghanistan will need a longer presence of foreign troops. NATO’s foreign ministers meeting in Turkey also accounted support for an Afghan-led peace process. Now this is up to the Taliban’s leadership whether it keeps the fire on in this troubled country or opts for peace negotiations. Pakistan has waged a new military offensive in North Waziristan and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his visit to Kabul on Tuesday, said Islamabad now considers the Afghan Taliban to be the enemy. It’s a surprising statement, particularly when one looks at Pakistan’s historical ties with the group.

Therefore, instead of being on defensive, Afghanistan must be in an aggressive mood as the Taliban insurgents need squeezing because they have been dislodged from their safe havens in North Waziristan. Though, Afghan Taliban and Haqqani Network still remain unscratched, however right now Afghanistan could benefit from the situation as the trend of the time is going in the favor of the government. But, unfortunately, it is not biting at the opportunity effectively. The government must be mindful of the fact that Afghanistan has been fighting a multifaceted war. Therefore, it must use every tool in its toolkit to keep the war heightened and at the same time diplomacy ramped up. If there is no balance between the two, the situation on the ground will further deteriorate. Even the international help would not make a biggest difference.

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