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Taliban dispute Afghanistan ranking as least peaceful country

AT News

KABUL: The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) has declared Afghanistan as the least peaceful country in the world, according to the ‘Global Peace Index 2022’. The Taliban has responded to this report, deeming the findings unjust, as reported by TOLO News based in Afghanistan.

The ‘Global Peace Index 2022’ by the IEP states that Afghanistan has held the undesirable title of the least peaceful country for the fifth consecutive year, followed by Yemen, Syria, Russia, and South Sudan. These countries have consistently ranked among the ten least peaceful nations for the past three years.

However, the IEP highlights a significant improvement in Afghanistan’s peacefulness in the 2023 GPI, although it remains the least peaceful country globally. The report acknowledges that violence still pervades the nation, but the level of conflict has notably decreased since the withdrawal of US troops in August 2021 and the subsequent Taliban takeover of the government.

Regarding criminality, the IEP notes a slight improvement in the perception of Afghan nationals. The percentage of people feeling unsafe while walking alone decreased from 84% to 77%, according to TOLO News.

The Index also reveals a 75% reduction in terrorist incidents and a 58% decrease in terrorism-related deaths in Afghanistan in 2022. Nevertheless, the IEP emphasizes the ongoing uncertainty of the security situation, highlighting the potential for escalated conflict between ISK and the Taliban.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid responded to the report, disputing the statistics of terrorist incidents and casualties, claiming a reduction of over 99% compared to what the report suggests. Mujahid argues that the number of civilian casualties is closer to 1,000 rather than the reported 4,000, attributing any remaining attacks to the controlled presence of Daesh (ISIS) in the region.

The report cites political analyst Andar Khan Ahmad, who warns that various terrorist groups may exploit the poverty and suffering of the Afghan people, leading to an insecure Afghanistan and a potential resurgence of proxy wars by global powers.

While conflicts such as Ukraine receive significant media coverage, the IEP highlights substantial declines in deaths in other internal conflicts worldwide, including Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria, and Somalia.

In a separate report titled “Impact of Improvised Explosive Devices,” the UN Assistant Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) reveals that from August 15, 2021, to May 30, 2023, a total of 3,774 civilians faced casualties, with 1,095 fatalities, mainly caused by Improvised Explosive Device (IED) explosions. The report states that since the Taliban’s takeover in August 2021, 701 people were killed and 2,113 were injured due to IED incidents, with three-quarters of these casualties occurring in populated areas such as places of worship, schools, and markets.

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