Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, October 21st, 2017

The Demise of Mullah Abdul Salam

It is very important for Afghan authorities and forces to show their strength against Taliban and other insurgents, as they are not ready to stop war and come to negotiation table. They should be taught clearly that they are not in a position of strength and can be subjugated by Afghan forces easily. If Taliban and other insurgents continue threatening poor Afghan citizens through their cowardly attacks and intend to spread terror within the country, Afghan forces must respond in an aggressive manner so that they realize their blunders. Reaching the top leadership of Taliban in the same manner would be an important tactic in this regard and would have lasting impact on the overall insurgency that has been launched by them. The recent strike that Afghan forces carried out in Kunduz to target Taliban shadow governor for Kunduz, Mullah Abdul Salam, will support the view that aggressive tactic when carried out properly and timely would really prove to be influential to discourage Taliban’s insurgency.     

On Sunday, the Afghan air force attacked a Taliban base in Nahr-e-Kohna village of Dasht-e-Archi district in Kunduz killing at least nine Taliban insurgents, including Salam. Salam was known as Taliban’s war machine in Kunduz and in the eastern regions. Under Salam as Taliban war strategist, Taliban insurgents last year, managed to capture the center of Kunduz. According to some sources, Salam spent jail terms in Guantanamo and Pakistan and he played a significant role in the expansion of Taliban in the north and eastern regions of Afghanistan. His demise is a great achievement by Afghan forces and would teach a lesson to insurgency leaders that their wars would not last for long and the only way they can survive is through peace and negotiation.

Though Salam’s death is an achievement, it can only prove to be a small episode in the war against terrorism. Afghan authorities need to develop a comprehensive strategy regarding security. It can be observed that Afghan security forces mostly react to the assaults and operations carried out by Taliban. They should be proactive enough to make preparations before such assaults and operations are carried out. The assaults by Taliban are not something on a small scale that cannot be observed before they happen. They require preparedness and logistic movements, which take place long before the assaults are carried out and Afghan security forces and intelligence agency should be in a position to detect all these preparations and movements and act proactively. However, that can happen when there is a proper strategy in place, not a mechanism that runs on ad-hoc basis.

Moreover, it is also important in such cases that the authorities should understand their responsibilities and they should know what they have to do. They, in many cases, seem so unprepared as if they have forgotten their duties. In some cases, as can be observed nowadays, they keep on blaming each other or avoid responsibilities in awkward ways. The same attitude was adopted by authorities when Kunduz was attacked last time. Governor of Kunduz, Assadullah Omarkhail had said that the death toll during the war in Kunduz was part of a divine order. He also blamed past action by security officials as the reason of the fall of Kunduz city, particularly that of deputy chief of staff for the army. His desperation was clear from his statements and same was the case with many other officials – they did not know whom to blame for the situation and what to do to change it for better.

The security situation in the country demands that there should be a comprehensive strategy. The complex networks of the terrorists and their growth and expansion cannot be eradicated only through defensive approach. The security authorities must develop an approach where they are able to press the insurgents and bring them to the point where they understand that there is no solution through violence and terrorism and they should come to negotiation table. Without being dominated by the Afghan security forces, it is very difficult that Taliban insurgents get ready for any sort of negotiation.

Moreover, Afghan authorities are not sure about how to coordinate the different fights that are taking place in different parts of the country. The insurgency in the country has turned complex, with ISIS posing even more threats. The different Taliban factions have different ways of fighting with the government. And, the main issue in such circumstances is that different authorities themselves are not on the same page on how to face the situation. In certain cases, they even favor some of their factions for their own interests. Therefore, the government needs to design a clear strategy, involve all the authorities in the decision making and improve the coordination. Only a clear, united and well-coordinated approach can defeat the insurgents in today’s situation.