Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

No End to Casualties

“Terrorism is a midterm threat and we have commitments with the world to curb it because Afghan forces are fighting on the frontline of terrorism …. The Afghan forces have protected the dignity of their people with the price of their blood, it is a permanent agreement and the people of this country respect it, I defend and support you everywhere and every moment,” these words were spoken by Afghan President Muhammad Ashraf Ghani.
This statement comes as the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) reported earlier that Afghan forces causalities increased by nine percent in the ongoing year compared to last year. SIGAR said a total of 5,523 Afghan service members were killed and an additional 9,665 wounded during the fighting season from January 1 to August 19. In addition, it is said that 30 terrorist networks are operating in Afghanistan. The Taliban outfits intensified their attacks within the two past years and inflicted heavy casualties upon Afghan soldiers and civilians, including women and children.
There were more than 11,000 conflict-related civilian casualties in 2015, marking the highest number of casualties since 2009 when UNAMA began documenting them. The conflict has since intensified, with Taliban insurgents expanding their activities to many more Afghan provinces this year. The Afghan war is estimated to have caused 70,000 civilian casualties, including over 25,000 deaths since the counting began seven years ago.
UN officials are also worried over the rising number of civilian displacements the conflict has caused this year. They have warned more than a million Afghans will be on the move by end of 2016, including tens of thousands of Afghan refugees returning mostly from neighboring Pakistan. According to UN estimates, the total number of the returnees has exceeded 400,000 since the start of the year.
A report by UNAMA blamed Taliban-led anti-government forces for causing 61 percent of all civilian casualties and accused pro-government Afghan forces of causing 23 percent of all civilian casualties, noting a 42 percent increase compared to last year, primarily due to the use of indirect and explosive weapons and aerial attacks.
With the establishment of democratic administration, peace has been the highest national priority and Afghan officials sought tirelessly to get warring factions to join peace process and stop violence and bloodshed. However, the Taliban persisted in their indiscriminate killings and spilling the blood of combatants and non-combatants alike. They turned the Afghan’s peace offering down. Through continuing the tug of war, the Taliban left no room for negotiation and no trust to resume it.
It is an unmistakable fact that Mansour’s death was a serious blow to the Taliban – who are still reeling from the death of its founder Mullah Muhammad Omar – and filled them with a strong sense of revenge. He had just consolidated his authority over the Taliban’s faction since his appointment. Refusing to come to negotiating table, Mansour staged heavy attacks against the Afghan government which increased the graph of police and civilian mortality within last year.  
The Taliban’s current leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada seems relentless and stubborn, the same as Omar, in staging attacks against the US and Afghan soldiers. Perhaps, as reported earlier, the secret and unofficial talks between the Taliban and Afghan government in Qatar was no more than a usual game the Taliban have ever played. They always show the white feather after giving the green light to resume peace. A serious determination for peace talks is never revealed by the Taliban elements and their leaders hesitate constantly.
“Disregard and contempt for human rights” – which is the main reason behind violence and bloodshed – have been widely practiced for decades. It is believed that warring factions are the major violators of human rights. Weary of war and insurgency, our nation prays for having a democratic society, void of war and violence, and demands from the government to protect the citizens’ rights and liberty and address the political challenges.
Undeniably, Afghan soldiers will combat terrorism with strong valor and commitment and made great sacrifices in this regard. The problem, however, is that the soldiers lack equipments and their also seems negligence from high-ranking officials. For instance, soldiers are, frequently, killed by the Taliban after being surrounded for days and receive no help despite their persistent calls. In such a case, their blood will be wasted without a tangible outcome. The government is to invest their blood in the best possible way and value their lives since they protect the life of nation. The high graph of soldiers’ casualties is really shocking and will demoralize them, if this trend continues.
Since the Taliban intensify their insurgency under spring offensive or Omari Operation, Afghan government also must launch military operations under certain title by the Special Forces and equipped troops, mainly with the support of the US forces. In this operation, the Taliban’s suspect bases and their high-ranking leaders should be the main target so as to demoralize the Taliban and protect the citizens’ life and liberty. In short, Afghan soldiers are not to always adopt a defensive position but also offensive one. Moreover, it will be hard to eradicate terrorism unless the supporting factors such as narcotic cultivation, drug trafficking and corruption in judicial system be rooted out.