Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, July 28th, 2017

Year 2016 – More Deadly for Afghan Forces

Growing insecurity in Afghanistan is influencing the prospects of peace and tranquility in the country to a large extent. People belonging to different walks of life are being influenced by it. Afghan civilians have had to undergo decades of sufferings and now the ongoing security situation does not have good news for them. On the other hand Afghan security forces, who are on the forefront of fight with Taliban and other insurgents have to face great challenges. Many of them have already lost their lives in the fight and many others are vulnerable because of the situation. The most important point at this stance is that their sacrifices must not go in vain and they should be able to see the dawn of peace and tranquility.   

In its recent quarterly report, the U.S government's Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has said that 6,785 Afghan security force members were killed between January 1 and November 12 last year, with another 11,777 wounded. Going on previous reports, this is an increase of about 35 percent against the same period in 2015, when some 5,000 security forces were killed. The SIGAR report stated that the “majority of Afghanistan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) casualties continue to be the result of direct-fire attacks, with IED explosions and mine strikes accounting for much lower levels of casualties.”

Moreover, SIGAR’s analysis of the most recent data provided by U.S Forces in Afghanistan (USFOR-A) suggests that the security situation in the country has not improved this quarter. 

The numbers of Afghan security forces are decreasing, while both casualties and the number of districts under insurgent control or influence are increasing.

USFOR-A found that about 57.2 percent of the country’s 407 districts are under Afghan government control or influence as of November 15, 2016 – a 6.2 percent decrease from the 63.4 percent reported the previous quarter ending late August, and a nearly 15 percent decrease since November 2015. Of the 407 districts of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, 233 districts were under government control (83 districts) or influence (150), 41 districts (in 15 provinces) were under insurgent control (9) or influence (32), and 133 districts were “contested.”

The report described that contested districts as having “negligible meaningful impact from insurgents,” contending that neither the insurgency nor the Afghan government maintains significant control over these areas.

The data clearly shows that insecurity is going to be a major challenge for Afghan government and security forces this year as well. As spring season is going to start, Taliban and other insurgents are more likely to increase their activities. There are fears among the people in Afghanistan that their lives would once again be influenced badly by the wave of terrorism and insurgency. After the downfall of Taliban, Afghan people had hoped that their lives would change and the circumstances would lead towards a better and peaceful future, but the last few years have pointed towards worsening security situation.

As far as the capability of Afghan forces to tackle the security situation in the country is concerned, there are some evident grey areas, which require immediate improvement and the international community should play a key role to ensure that training and capacity building sessions must start immediately so that Afghan forces are in a better position to face the security challenges this year.

The response of the government in the face of the rising insecurity is really lethargic. It has been largely influenced by the differences that prevail within the ranks of National Unity Government (NUG) regarding the approach that has to be adopted against the situation. The members of NUG see the issue with different perspectives and are not ready to cooperate with each other in designing a comprehensive and unanimous policy to tackle the situation. This has led to misunderstandings and ambiguities in the war against terrorism on operational level as well.

Afghan government, therefore, has to get united and strive to control the situation properly. It needs to understand that as a result of decades of instability and socio-economic and political problems, the Afghan people have been suffering from myriads of problems. Coupled with the issue of insecurity, there are some very concerning issues that exist in our society and threaten the lives of the common people of Afghanistan.

Afghan government must therefore get serious in tackling the issue of the insecurity and strive to protect valuable human resource. ANDSF are vital for the peace and tranquility of the country. Though their profession requires them to be on the forefront of the war, proper strategic planning and policy making by the government officials can support them in achieving peace without having to lose many valuable lives. Moreover, proper strategies can assist the government in building its legitimacy and gaining support among the people, who otherwise seem to have lost their hopes about a tranquil and prosperous future. If the people are sure that the present government can strive honestly to provide them security and peace they will definitely join hands together along with the security forces to fight terrorists and terrorism successfully.