Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, August 1st, 2021

Insecurity Widens Gap Between State and Nation

The recent serial and systematic killings have filled public air with fear and disappointment and led to a wide gap between state and nation. Afghan journalists, human rights activists and political figures are being targeted by unknown gunmen. The threat looms larger than ever. But the criminals are at large and hunt for next prey.
Journalists, activists, and political figures are the main target in recent days. Afghans mourn the loss of intellectual and sincere segment of the society and accuse the government of not being able to ensure their safety.
It is self-explanatory that the government’s intelligence is operating insufficiently and the government is unable to protect the life of citizens, which is a great cause for concern.
The assassination of Yousuf Rasheed, CEO of the Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan, women’s rights activist Freshta Kohistani, freelance reporter Rahmatullah Nikzad, former TOLOnews presenter Yama Siawash, Radio Azadi reporter Elyas Daee, Enekaas TV presenter in Nangarhar Malala Maiwand, and Ariana News presenter Fardin Amini in a month is highly outrageous and shocking.
On December 13, Freshta Kohistani criticized the Afghan security agencies via a Facebook post for not helping to ensure her security. “Several times I asked the Ministry of Interior, the minister himself, the head of the anti-crime department and the head of the National Directorate of Security to address the threats that I am face with, but they disregarded me,” wrote Freshta. She added, “I again request the responsible authorities to take my issue seriously, otherwise those who never addressed my security and problems will be responsible for my blood. Now that the Ministry of Interior and the NDS did not take it seriously, I request Mr. Saleh and rest of the elders of the country to do something.” This post indicates that the Afghan security organs show little or no concern to the threats a citizen encounters on day-to-day basis. That is, even life-threatening warnings will not catch the attention of security officials.
If security authorities do not ensure the security of citizens and simply tell them to protect themselves, it will create a wide gap between citizens and the government. If the security of citizens who participate in elections to vote for supporting democracy, pay taxes, render services, and trust officials, does not matter for security officials and authorities who reside tall and concrete buildings, lawbreaking and insecurity will increase. With this in mind, high-ranking officials have to take the issues seriously and punish those security organs or individuals who are not fulfilling their duty on the basis of law with commitment.
The growing mistrust between state and nation will be narrowed if security organs tighten the security and reinforce their intelligence and show that the life of each and every citizen matters for them. Officials cannot deny the responsibility for public protection. Constitutionally, the government is obliged to form a civil society void of violence and bloodshed in which people live a secure and prosperous life.
Many, including officials, believe that the Taliban are behind the recent systematic killings although no group has claimed responsibility so far. First Vice President Amrullah Saleh said on a tweet, “Unclaimed bombings and targeted assassination of civil society activists are 2/11 pillars of Taliban terror campaign linked to their negotiations strategy. They want to break the political will of the Afghan people and demand impossible concessions. Call it what it is. Ambiguity won’t help.”
Meanwhile, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad also tweeted that “these targeted killings and assassinations must stop. They threaten the peace process. The Afghan people demand peace. A ceasefire and political settlement remain urgent.”
The Taliban’s involvement in the targeted killings and assassination, which is widely believed, will put the peace process at stake. Gaining concessions through spilling the blood of civilians will be neither possible nor acceptable. The Taliban must stop their strategy of force and violence. They have to resolve tension at the negotiating table. Killing journalists, activists, politicians and ordinary people indicate the Taliban’s weakness and their irrational ideology. In short, the Taliban gave nothing to Afghans and Afghanistan other than killings and destruction. They destroyed the country and inflicted social and economic harm on it simply to gain power.
The Taliban never sought to respect humanitarian law as they intentionally targeted non-combatants, including journalists and activists. The Taliban should not sabotage the peace talks, which have reached a critical stage, through their acts of violence and bloodshed. The international community should pressure the Taliban to stop killing civilians and assassinating journalists and activists. The government should not underestimate the recent violence and targeted killings and take all measures to protect the life of citizens so that the mistrust between state and nation come to an end.