Afghan government and international community are trying to paint an upbeat picture of the direction Afghanistan is going in. They are talking of Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) being able to begin to assume the responsibility for security of the country. Officials from countries with troops in Afghanistan are indicating that improved security situation allows them to begin to draw down their soldiers from the country and they have started to do so.
But a critical glimpse at the current situation in Afghanistan shows that it is treacherous for various reasons. It is often said that Taliban militants and other insurgent groups have lost their ability to fight Afghan and international security forces face-to-face and therefore carry out suicide and terrorist attacks.
The fact is that these terrorist groups are able to target anyone and anywhere they want. They can infiltrate into national security forces and they are able to strike a fortified hotel in the heart of the capital as the well-coordinated assault on Intercontinental Hotel showed.
These militants are able to kill police chiefs, heads of provincial councils and other high ranking officials. The extremist terrorists may have lost their ability to fight face-to-face as Afghan and NATO security officials suggest but the deplorable incidents over the past few months demonstrate that they have not lost the ability to kill both officials and innocent people as the recent report by the UNAMA showed a marked increase in civilian deaths, 80 percent of which are caused by the insurgents.
The ongoing reconciliation process, which is aimed at providing a political settlement to Afghan problem and bringing an end to this lingering conflict, not only has not done anything to dispel Afghans' concerns but has confused them as well for a number of reasons: one, the process is not transparent and not known to the public. Two, it is not clear who is doing what as recent reports show several rounds of talks between the Taliban and the US in Germany and some other countries while officials from these countries have always stressed that reconciliation should be an "Afghan-led process."
The government is going its own way to contact the militants. The so-called High Peace Council is giving out its own confusing messages and last week some other individuals apprised Afghan people of their meeting with Mullah Omar, the one-eyed fugitive leader of the group, somewhere near Kabul. Three, the militants continue to reject the peace talks offer by more attacks and by saying that they would never negotiate as long as international forces are around.
If Mullah Omar and his representatives are meeting the US representatives, contacting Afghan government, High Peace Council and the so-called president Karzai and Mullah Omar's authorized peace mediators, then why do Afghan people see increase in loss of innocent lives? The danger is just in the fact that everyone is happy with more suffering because they either do not feel and appreciate it or they just hide it. It is nothing more than a shout of victory at the time of defeat.