Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, November 16th, 2018

2018 – A Terrible Ordeal for the Taliban

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2018 – A Terrible Ordeal for the Taliban

Spilling the blood of the Taliban fighters has been considered a panacea for the ongoing violence and bloodshed after peace talks came to unbreakable stalemate. Afghan and the US soldiers have intensified their attacks against the Taliban to send them the message of death in the wake of their deadly attacks against combatants and non-combatants.
The series of attacks in Kabul, which were claimed by the Taliban and self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), aggravated the sense of mistrust of a fruitful negotiation and shattered the public hope for a peaceful year in 2018. The diplomatic strategy for reducing violence, which was suggested widely, does not seem to be instrumental anymore.
The Taliban did not show tendency towards peace talks within the past years. For example, they carried out large-scale attacks on Afghan soil to demonstrate their power and show that they are the winner in the bloody game. The Afghan government’s message of peace and reconciliation was misconstrued. After the death of Mullah Akhtar Mansour, his men and Haqqani network pledged to intensify their attacks against Afghan nation and the US troops. Hence, they were deaf to the message of peace.
Declaring the US strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia in August last year, Donald Trump sought to pursue military action against the Taliban and their safe havens. He said, “America and our partners are committed to stripping terrorists of their territory, cutting off their funding and exposing the false allure of their evil ideology. Terrorists who slaughter innocent people will find no glory in this life or the next. They are nothing but thugs and criminals and predators and – that’s right – losers.”
As part of this strategy, the Trump administration recently increased drone strikes at alleged terrorist safe havens in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and reports from the region suggest that several ‘commanders’ of the dreaded Haqqani network were also killed in those attacks. Similarly, Khan Saeed Sajna, the Mehsud splinter group leader of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), along with his nine close associates, was killed in a US drone strike on Wednesday.
In late January, the White House released that the US commanders had the authority to deal with terrorist safe havens whether inside or outside Afghanistan. “President Trump’s conditions-based South Asia strategy provides commanders with the authority and resources needed to deny terrorists the safe haven they seek in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” it stated.
To further pressure terrorist networks, the United States has named three Pakistani militants as key “terrorist facilitators”, saying they worked closely with a well-known backer of Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Taliban known as ShaykhAminullah, who has been on international terror blacklists since 2009 and allegedly turned the Ganj seminary in Peshawar into a training and recruiting base for Al Qaeda, the Taliban and LeT. The US Treasury placed Rahman Zeb Faqir Muhammad, HizbUllah Astam Khan and Dilawar Khan Nadir Khan on its blacklist of “Specially Designated Global Terrorists,” in an effort to disrupt the group’s ability to obtain and distribute financing.
In December 2001, with Operation Enduring Freedom barely underway, President George W. Bush declared it America’s purpose “to lift up the people of Afghanistan.” Bush vowed that American forces would stay until they finished the job. In December 2017, during a brief visit to Kabul – unannounced because of security concerns – the US Vice President Mike Pence affirmed that commitment. “We’re here to stay,” he told a gathering of troops, “until freedom wins.”
The protracted war in Afghanistan inflicted heavy casualties on Afghan civilians and soldiers and the US troops. The US lost over 2,400 of its soldiers and expended an estimated trillion dollars. However, peace remained elusive and the Taliban militants chose to carry out more deadly attacks against Kabul administration without considering negotiation an alternative. For example, the two last years have been highly deadly for Afghan people as a result of escalated militancy and Afghanistan was ranked the second worst country, out of 163, in terms of terrorism in the world. In short, 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.
Following the futile attempts to bring the Taliban to negotiating table, Ghani and Trump’s administrations have decided to increase military action against the Taliban outfit and its militant counterparts. The Taliban have sustained heavy casualties in recent attacks carried out by Afghan government and its international allies. Under this ordeal, the public hope that the Taliban will be disintegrated.

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

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