Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Traditional and Conventional Approach to Mirza Olang Tragedy


Traditional and Conventional Approach to Mirza Olang Tragedy

The catastrophe in Mirza Olang area of Sar-e-Pul province and the slaughter of countless number of its residents seem unprecedented. Reports and narrative from local officials says that terrorist outfits have spilt streams of blood with great cruelty and killed scores of innocent and “defenseless” individuals without an ounce of mercy.
Reports and local officials, however, are not able to portray the depth of this catastrophe in its true form. About 50 people, mostly civilians, have reportedly been slaughtered in the most tragic way.
The succinct narrative from the media and local authorities of Sar-e-Pul province say that terrorist groups created a tragedy in Mirza Olang. Their statements suggest that the militants, after entering the area, pulled out the civilians from their houses, slaughtered, beheaded, threw from mountain and shot them dead. This short statement reflects the fact that the tragedy in Mira Olang has been unprecedented, at least within the past decade and half.
The armed opponents and terrorist groups fighting against the government not only in Sar-e-Pul but in majority of the provinces, based on a statistic conducted by security organs. The ongoing war in Mirza Olang, however, reflects the ugliest face of war and violence in the country.
Although the Taliban claimed that they had targeted only those who participated in the war, yet those who survived the war have more painful narrative about this tragic issue and it is an unmistakable fact that the magnitude of catastrophe is too severe than what is reported.
First, the dissimilarity in Mirza Olang conflict, according to locals and officials, is that the Taliban and affiliates to the self-styled Islamic State (IS) have associated with each other which has ever taken place. Earlier, the two groups did not only lack an agreement but also fought bloody battles against each other. Based on this association, the official and people will have to be on alert since their allegiance will sharpen the blade of terror and violence more than ever before leaving the government and nation in a passive state.
So far, it was believed that terrorist groups, particularly the Taliban and the affiliates to IS, were in conflict and would not be aligned against the government. Nonetheless, the Mirza Olang tragedy proved the opposite and revealed the fact that their interests outshined their conflicts.
Little wonder, both the groups are radicals, being supported by outside circles and are used as pawns in the political game for the countries which pursue their interests in the destruction of others’. Thus, the future of war and counterinsurgency should be viewed from different perspective.
The second difference in Mira Olang is the nature of war. In this episode, terrorist groups resorted to large-scale violence such as beheading, throwing from mounts, shooting and slaughtering. Unconfirmed reports say that they took a number of women and children with themselves.
Afghan government and nation sustained war and violence, carried out by the Taliban, more than sixteen years. However, there is no or highly rare reports about such harsh treatment with locals or a particular ethnic group.
The association of the two groups shows that escalated militancy and large-scale war will be in the offing in the country. Currently, the firm foothold of the IS group and its large-scale violence across the country is alarming and suggests the multiplication of crisis.
The third difference is the approach of government in general and approach of security organs in particular towards the issue. The officials of Sar-e-Pul say that they had warned some days earlier about crisis and attack on Mirza Olang area and constantly demanded support from central government which was remained unanswered.
After all, it is more than four days that the terrorist groups took the control of Mirza Olang, but despite the fact that Sar-e-Pul local officials urged for support, no military aid were sent for rescuing those stuck in the war or for collecting the dead bodies. This comes as 150 families are reportedly under the control of the Taliban and there seems no way for getting rid of it.
Despite any justifications by officials, people might misconstrue this issue. Considering the tragic aspect of this episode and the violent treatment of terrorist fighters with the locals, people might interpret it a deliberate negligence from the government. The government had to adopt prevent measures after being warned by local officials.
The fourth and highly painful issue is the silence of security organs. Terrorists launched massacre in Mirza Olang; however the security organs remain quiet about the destiny of hostages and their approach in this regard.
Whenever an event to the extent of Mirza Olang is continued with silence, the first outcome will be a growing mistrust of people towards the government and officials. Such a silence is similar to being onlooker of the tragedy.
In brief, the issue of Mirza Olang is highly shocking and different from other security and terrorist issues. Afghan people also expect different approach in this regard since traditional and conventional approach will not address the tragedy of Mirza Olang.

Aziz Mobashir is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at the outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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