Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, May 21st, 2018

2011: Deadlier Than Earlier Years But Crucial for Afghanistan and the West

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2011: Deadlier Than Earlier Years But Crucial for Afghanistan and the West

Since Taliban were of expelled in 2001, all the years have been tough years in Afghanistan. In other words we have left behind almost ten bloody years with no music in our ears about anything. Actually limiting the distress in Afghanistan to only ten years is a very unjust justification. Afghans, in general, have had no good days since centuries with violence and brutality prevailing in their lives. 

When talking about violence in Afghanistan, we mostly refer to the conflicts of the past three decades – USSR invasion, civil war, Taliban government and Operation Enduring Freedom launched by US and its allies in 2001 after the 9/11 that continues until today. But the insurgency can not be even limited to these three decades only, as this has now history of centuries. And it seem like, the grief will persist in our country with unknown ending time. 

With each passing day, the war in Afghan claims more lives. Even if people have forgotten figures pertaining to the deaths of Afghan and International forces and civilians in the past years, 2010 figures must be still fresh in their minds. 2010 was the bloodiest year in regards of civilian causalities caused both by Taliban and US-led forces. Civilians killed in Afghanistan jumped 15 percent to 2,777 in 2010 from a year earlier, a joint report by Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) and UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in back in the month March. UN figures of 2010 related to Afghanistan are: 83% rise in abductions, 105% increase in targeted killings, 588% and 248% rise in civilian killings in Helmand and Kandahar provinces respectively, 26% decline in the number of civilian deaths caused by coalition and Afghan forces, 21% rise in the number of child casualties, 6% rise in the number of women casualties.

In the year 2010, more than 700 coalition troops were killed. The number of deaths of American soldiers only in the last nine months is alarming. The Associated Press report published on Tuesday says, "As of Tuesday, April 19, 2011, at least 1,431 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count." Figures pertaining to the deaths of Afghan National Army and Police are not known but for sure they are far high than that of NATO. 

Yet there is another tough year ahead in Afghanistan.  Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff during his recent visit to Afghanistan said: "We're going to have a very tough year ahead. I've been very straight with the American people on that. I think our losses, which were significant last year, will be significant this year as well. This is not only Mike Mullen who is predicting the losses of 2011 more than  the past years but also resembling comments have been expressed by other military and non-military authorities and experts. Above the comments, views and statements, the ground realities – current upsurge of suicide bombings and intensification of attacks on the coalition forces – make the fate of 2011 crystal clear.

Acknowledging that 2011 will add another dark chapter to the lives of the people of Afghanistan and those families that have sent their sons and daughters from across the world to Afghanistan, worries about the future of this war-torn country further increases. At one hand drastic and deadly attacks of insurgents are gaining momentum and on the other the drawdown of troops have been set to start in July of this year. This has caused waves of panic among Afghans to go high.
With the ouster of Taliban nine years back, people started dreaming of a prosperous Afghanistan. But that dream seems to have broken into pieces as security transition is beginning at a time when the government falls short to defend its own offices. On Monday, a suicide bomber entered the Ministry of Defense building, reached its third floor wearing his suicide jacket and killed three and wounded six people before he was shot dead without giving him a chance to detonate himself. On Friday, the Kandahar police chief was murdered in his own office

. Incidents in which Afghan soldiers open fires at their own fellows or foreign mentors/soldiers are becoming another deadly tactics used by Taliban. We can deem this technique as another most deadly technique after the IEDs or commonly called road-side bombs. In the last week or so, insurgents in the uniform of Army or Police have killed 4 NATO and 9 Afghan soldiers and an interpreter. This proves the fact that Taliban have infiltrated Afghan national security forces and other organizations of the government. But unfortunately, the government is failing to identify the snake of the glass.

2011 is a critical year for Afghan government and its international backers. It is still vague what policy will be adopted to start the withdrawal and handing of defense responsibilities to Afghan security forces – a process that has been pronounced "real" by the US President Barack Obama. The number of the first troops that will go back to their homes will, of course, be in hundred or even lower and not in thousands. But the question that remains with vague answer is that: "Has the security condition improved in Afghanistan than last year when the Obama administration deployed more than thirty thousand troops to reverse the Taliban's moment?"
More clashes with the insurgents would mean more casualties – that is what military officials maintain. And this is going to happen in 2011.

This has been the emphasize of the human rights organizations, civil societies and the people of Afghanistan that optimal efforts should be made to avoid civilian killings that has been playing the role of catalyst in creating rift between Afghanistan and the international community. 2011 would, no doubt, bring us more grief nevertheless we hope fundamental steps would be taken towards peace, prosperity and reconstruction of Afghanistan.

Sher Ali Yecha is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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