Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

The Cul-de-sac of War on Terror Leads to Further Casualties

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The Cul-de-sac of War on Terror Leads to Further Casualties

Human catastrophes are seriously horrible in Afghanistan. Nothing is sacred for the militant fighters – particularly for the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Human life does not amount to anything. The nonstop carnage and bloodshed are the ugly face of terrorist activities which result in outpouring of grief. Afghan soldiers bled constantly to protect the rights and freedoms of the nation. However, the nation was killed in cold blood and underwent great sufferings and there seems to light at the end of the tunnel with the escalated militancy.
Trump’s strong rhetoric against terrorist groups is less likely to be a panacea for the bleeding wound of Afghan nation or to revive their shattered hope. The US strategy regarding “war on terrorism” has been fluctuating with the successive presidents. The deployment and withdrawal of US soldiers was deemed the only strategy for counterinsurgency from Bush’s administration up to now. In his inaugural address in January 2017, Donald Trump said, “We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the Earth.” He declared strong resolution for combating terrorism saying that “the time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.” His words were received with great delight and triggered a strong sense of hope not only for the American nation but also for the world, including Afghanistan.
Declaring his new strategy regarding Afghanistan in Monday evening, Trump talked about the America’s longest war in history (16-year war after the Sept. 11 attacks), and said that “the consequences of a rapid exit” from Afghanistan “are both predictable and unacceptable 9/11, the worst terrorist attack in our history”. According to him, increasing the number of US soldiers in Afghanistan will win the war on terrorism and the country will change into second Iraq with a hasty withdrawal of US troops.
It is rightly said that deciding “behind the desk in the Oval Office” is much different. Trump’s inaugural address was too strong and sentimental. For instance, eliminating terrorism from the face of earth, which was said by Trump in his inaugural speech, is beyond one’s imagination with the escalated insurgency and emergence of greater number of terrorist networks – this was simply said from “behind the desk”.
Despite Trump’s big claim, the Taliban and ISIL group have intensified their attacks in Afghanistan to show a backlash against his statements and send a lukewarm message to peace talks frequently offered by Afghan government, High Peace Council (HPC) and US officials. Nonetheless, Afghan and US authorities still persist warring factions to stop violence and bloodshed and hold peace talks. Trump also stated that only military power will not be the panacea for terrorist issue. This indicates that the door to negotiation is open for the militants. In brief, two options have been constantly put before the militant fighters: either join peace process or face the consequence of military action. The former has been refused up to present.
Unlike Afghan government, militant fighters have changed their war strategy; i.e., sowing the seed of sectarianism through targeting ethnic-religious groups. On the other hand, notwithstanding their diverse ideologies, the Taliban and ISIL allied with each other against Afghan soldiers and foreign troops. So, warring parties change their tactic of war to inflict further casualties and loss on Afghan soldiers and civilians and as well as foreign troops.  
The gory incidents and hemorrhage reflect the Taliban’s strong will for continuing war and violence. The spate of terrorist attacks in recent months has added to public disappointment. The tragic story repeats itself on daily basis. Recently, the ISIL group which stokes sectarian violence through targeting minority group in the country traumatized people to a great extent. In the current year, militant fighters targeted six mosques for which the responsibilities were mostly claimed by ISIL. Indeed, nothing – including human life or holy sites – are sacred for ISIL group which makes no bones about desecrating holy places.
The heart of stone will melt with the tragic aspect of human catastrophes in Afghanistan. Warring factions trample upon the rights and dignity of people in the worst possible way. That is to say, their cruel practices are against religious tenets, moral values and humanity. The carnage and gory videos recorded and released by militant fighters for filling the air with horror and terror put an adverse effect on the minds of people.   
The US, which was in a quandary about Afghanistan’s strategy, released its decision last week. So, as Trump said in his inaugural speech that “the time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action,” he needs to usher in his decision as soon as possible so as to stop the nonstop violence and casualties in Afghanistan or else rooting out terrorism “from the face of the Earth” will be impossible.

Hujjatullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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