Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, December 15th, 2017

Casualties Lead to Despair

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Casualties Lead to Despair

Despite the democratic system, the issue of terrorism has filled the air with a sense of disappointment. The high graph of soldiers’ casualties has hardened the process of recruitment for Afghan government. In the current years, the Taliban carried out large-scale attacks that resulted in great fatalities of Afghan soldiers. In such a case, families will hardly ever let their members join the army.
The insurgents have made inroads in eastern and northern Afghanistan – long the most important recruiting grounds for the army – they are directly threatening the military’s ability to replenish its dwindling ranks. A report says that the Taliban pressure is taking a serious toll, with officials in some provinces reporting recruitment down by as much as 50 percent. Taliban pressure includes fines on families of soldiers, physical punishment of soldiers who return home, and even confiscation of land and homes. “In the first six months of this year, we recruited 13,000 personnel, but we are planning to recruit 25,000 in the second six months. We do face challenges in recruiting enough personnel, I cannot hide that,” Gen. Mohammed Ibrahim, the commander of the Afghan Army’s national recruitment center, is cited as saying. He adds that the force had recruited 37,000 men last year, and 42,000 in 2015.
In one recent massacre in Kandahar Province, the Taliban nearly wiped out an entire army unit of 60 men. In April, insurgents drove into the army’s headquarters in the northern province of Balkh and killed at least 140 soldiers in a rampage that lasted several hours. In a March attack claimed by the Islamic State, militants barged into the military’s main hospital in Kabul, slaughtering dozens of soldiers who were being treated there.
The drop in recruitment is a major blow to a force that is suffering from drastic losses of men and territory. Some of the units struggled so much, losing men and equipment, that they had to be entirely rebuilt.
The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) report states that the Taliban had evolved and focused more on taking control of territory by using traditional conflict tactics. A global study by the Institute for Peace and Economics has ranked Afghanistan the 2nd worst country, out of 163, in terms of terrorism in the world. The GTI put Iraq at number one and Afghanistan at number two, followed by Nigeria, Syria, Pakistan and Yemen – in that order.
Based on the report, Afghanistan had the second highest number of deaths from terrorism in 2016. However this was 14 percent lower than the previous year, in part due to reduced terrorist activity by the Taliban.
While this reduction provides some hope, the number of deaths recorded in 2016 was the second highest recorded from terrorism incidents in Afghanistan since the ousting of the Taliban regime in 2001. The Taliban are said to be responsible for 94 percent of attacks by known groups in Afghanistan in 2016.
The Taliban’s cruel practices are no more a mystery and thousands of combatants and non-combatants are killed or amputated in terrorist attacks. The Taliban carry out the bulk of attacks in Afghanistan. Their indiscriminate attacks in public places result in civilian casualties. However, regarding soldiers, they show no iota of mercy and violate the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) through killing torturing and killing detainees and the wounded soldiers.
The self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) also kill civilians and soldiers indiscriminately. This group fills the air with fear through harsh practices. Within the two past years, the ISIL claimed the responsibility of a large number of attacks. The ISIL fighters mostly targeted ethnic minorities and civilians on the ground of their race and religion. Hence, this group is also responsible for many fatalities.
It is highly shocking to see that Afghanistan had the second highest number of deaths in 2016 and it has been ranked the second worst country in terms of terrorism. The bloody incidents and high graph of civilian and soldiers’ casualties prove this fact. People suffer severely. Almost no day goes without killing – the tragedy which continues unabated.
If Afghan government does not intensify its defensive attacks, the casualties will not stop. It has been proved that the Taliban will never cease their attacks since they did not succumb to the persistent calls of Afghan government for peace talks. Their formidable decision in continuing war and violence originate from their dogmatic beliefs and radical ideology, which justify their attacks against both soldiers and civilians. To mitigate the challenges of recruitment and allay the public worry, Afghan soldiers and foreign troops need to intensify their attacks against the Taliban and eradicate their hideouts. Moreover, reinforcing intelligence is believed to foil many attacks and suicide bombings, which will be a strong blow to the militant fighters.

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

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