Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, May 20th, 2018

Insecurity – A Major Challenge for Afghanistan

Kabul once again experienced an insurgent attack on Wednesday, wherein a convoy of foreign troops was targeted by a suicide bomber. As a result of the attack, eight civilians were killed and at least 24 others were wounded. While, as per the statement by spokesman for US Forces Afghanistan, Navy Captain William Salvin, three coalition service members sustained non-life threatening wounds as the convoy was a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) convoy. The attack was claimed by Daesh.
The attacks by Daesh have now become frequent in Afghanistan, particularly, in capital Kabul. Only few months earlier, Afghan officials used to deny that Daesh had stronghold in Afghanistan, but the consecutive and large-scale attacks by Daesh insurgents clearly depict that those denials were based on no authentic information. Now, the officials are not even in the position to deny the fact that Daesh is getting stronger in Afghanistan and that points towards a very bleak future as far as security and stability are concerned.
This attack has come only few weeks after the attack on 209 Shaheen Corps Headquarters in Balkh, wherein around 150 soldiers were killed. Moreover, Kabul, itself, has not yet forgotten the brutal attack on Army Hospital that took the lives of many Afghan soldiers. In fact, the statistics show that Afghan forces have been facing a larger number of casualties since the drawdown of international forces.
US government's Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) earlier said in its report for 2016 that 6,785 Afghan security force members were killed in the year, and another 11,777 were wounded. Comparing it with the previous reports revealed an increase of about 35 percent against the same period in 2015, when some 5,000 security forces were killed.
The dual threats of Daesh and Taliban have created major security challenges for Afghan security forces, this year as well. Since Taliban have also announced their spring offensive, the coming few months would be really tough for Afghan forces and people. Therefore, it is really imperative that they get fully prepared to face any sort of situation. Moreover, they will try to strengthen their positions in different parts of country.
SIGAR’s earlier analysis of the data provided by U.S Forces in Afghanistan (USFOR-A) suggested that the security situation in Afghanistan had not improved. The numbers of Afghan security forces were decreasing, while both casualties and the number of districts under insurgent control or influence were increasing. USFOR-A found that about 57.2 percent of the country’s 407 districts were 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 contested districts as having “negligible meaningful impact from insurgents,” contending that neither the insurgency nor the Afghan government maintained significant control over these areas.
The data clearly shows that the nature of insecurity would be threatening for Afghan government and security forces this year as well. Taliban and Daesh, among other insurgents, have already increased 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.
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.