Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, June 22nd, 2018

Consensus Needed in War against Terrorism

United States (US) forces in Afghanistan dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb on a series of cave-fighters loyal to Islamic State-Khorasan or ISIS-K (Daesh) group in Achin district of eastern Nangarhar province on Thursday, April 13. As per the official statements both by US and Afghan officials, the bomb, also called as ‘Mother of All Bombs’, was used as part of ongoing efforts to defeat the Daesh in Afghanistan, as it is believed to be getting stronger.
The US Central Command (CENTCOM) said that US forces took every precaution to avoid civilian casualties with the strike and that American forces would continue offensive operations for such purposes until Daesh was destroyed in Afghanistan.
Afghan government has also given a statement that it was aware of the operation and knew that that the bomb was being used against Daesh. As per a comment on twitter by Presidential Palace or ARG, “The air strike was designed to support the efforts of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and U.S. Forces as well as minimize the risk to ANSF and the U.S. Forces conducting clearing operations in the region.” Whether the bomb was used with the consent of US and Afghan President is a different issue; the important question is whether the use of this bomb fits in any sort of long-term strategy adopted by the US and Afghan decision makers, or it is just an effort in isolation.
It is imperative to comprehend that the nature of terrorism and insurgency is now turning into a complex and complicated phenomenon in Afghanistan. The security situation is deteriorating again and the prospects of peace and tranquility are not very clear. Earlier, it was only Taliban who posed a serious threat to the country but now Afghanistan is facing Daesh as well, which seems to be getting stronger with each passing day. Previously, there were claims that the growth of Daesh in Afghanistan may only be an exaggeration but the situation now clearly depicts that the claims were not far away from reality.
The growth of Daesh has mounted double challenge for Afghan government and the security forces. There are already doubts and questions about the performance of Afghan security forces against the growing threats of Taliban in different parts of the country, the rise of Daesh has put their capabilities in further test. Daesh has had a history of ruthless massacre and tyranny in Middle East and it largely differs from Taliban the way its militants operate. There have already been certain incidents wherein they have shown inhumane tyranny against innocent civilians and some security forces.
Daesh is believed to be in a process of hasty recruitment. According to many reports, the group is operating in different parts of Badakhshan, Kunduz, Farah, Faryab, Logar and also in the eastern regions, especially in Nangarhar. Daesh has shown its true face in Iraq and Syria and has shown to the world the extent of its barbarism. The group needs to be observed properly in Afghanistan; otherwise, it would be really difficult to control it in insecure circumstances.
Another major factor that is supporting the growth of Daesh is that many ex-Taliban militants have joined it and they are now fighting under its flag. Moreover, the week security mechanism to have a check on its growth has further deteriorated the situation.
US Department of State, under Obama administration, had earlier declared Daesh as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. According to a statement by then US Department of State, Daesh announced its formation on January 10, 2015. The group is based in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region and is composed primarily of former members of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban. The senior leadership of Daesh has pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Daesh. This pledge was accepted in late January 2015 and since then ISIL-K has carried out suicide bombings, small arms attacks and kidnappings in eastern Afghanistan against civilians and Afghan National Security and Defense Forces. It also claimed responsibility for May 2015 attacks on civilians in Karachi, Pakistan, and the attacks on the Enlightenment Movement Protest and Muharram procession in Kabul.
The U.S Department of State had claimed that the sanctions imposed by the United States against terrorists was an important element of their counter terrorism efforts. Designations of terrorists and terrorist groups would expose and isolate individuals and organizations, and result in denial of access to the U.S. financial system.
Now, this current bombing of Daesh hideouts is a clear indication that the US wants to get serious about controlling Daesh in Afghanistan or at least it wants to give this impression.

However, it is important to see the issue of terrorism and insecurity in Afghanistan as a whole. Likewise, it is vital to design a comprehensive strategy wherein the international and national governments and forces see eye to eye with each other and there is full consensus on every major step that is carried out against the insurgents; whether Daesh or Taliban.