Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

Rising violence on the eve of the Turkey Peace Conference

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Rising violence on the eve of the Turkey  Peace Conference

On the eve of peace Conference in Turkey, once again the war and violence have intensified across the country. In recent days, both the government forces and the Taliban claimed that they inflicted heavy casualties on the other side. Based on latest media reports quoted from Ministry of Defense, more than 100 insurgent fighters were killed and a large number them were injured within one day in an operation across several provinces. It is also added that Afghan army commanders have also evicted the Taliban from Arghandab district in the southern Kandahar province; months after the insurgents had overrun it.
On the other side, the Taliban have also increased movements and violence attacking different parts of the country such as Herat, Ghor, Ghazni, Helmand, and Kabul districts by killing, injuring and arresting dozens of security forces.
In response to the recent causalities, the Taliban warned of possible retaliation which raised fears of more bloodshed in days ahead. Within last two days successive attacks were carried out on the Kabul districts such as Qarabagh and Paghman with leaving dozens of killings and injuries.
Based on media news, the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said a group of insurgents staged “tactical attacks” on the convoy following the car bombing and “killed/wounded up to 45” Afghan forces, though insurgents often release inflated casualty tolls for such attacks.
If we compare the rising violence of this period, which is considered as a new phase of peace process, with the time when the US-Taliban peace talks were just started, and then the Qatar peace talks began, all these phases seem similar as all of them were started with rising of violence. 
Although all this process had created much optimism among the people and politicians about the peace process, these hopes and optimism have always been destroyed. In fact, the acceleration of the peace process had always been accelerated with terrorist attacks and mourning of Afghan people. In accordance with the past experience, there is a link between peace agreement and escalation of violence in the country; in the past, it was said that Taliban increase violence to obtain more political advantages at the negotiating table while inversely promised to reduce violence in the country.
With these tactics and violence, they have not only proved their dishonesty about the peace process in the country but also disappointed people. If the Taliban truly wants to end the conflicts in the country, they should prove their good-will through ceasefire or meaningful violence reduction. Otherwise, the renewed violence does not bode well for a proposed peace conference to be held in Istanbul, Turkey. 
Anyway, the main question is why the violence is inversely increased on the eve of the peace process. Besides the usual reason such as getting more advantage in the peace table, there seem some major barriers. As a first barrier, it seems that we have never fundamentally discussed the root cause of war and violence in the country and so the enemy shows their disagreement about peace with the rising of violence in the country. Undoubtedly, those who support terrorism undertaking huge expenses might have some concerns which must be tackled and ended. They must receive a clear message of peace and brotherhood from the people of Afghanistan. They should realize the good intention of Afghan people about all neighboring countries and accordingly, put an end to their intervention in the country. If they stop supporting terrorism, the ordinary people of Afghanistan have no motivation to kill civilians, women, and children. They must have understood that a safe and secure Afghanistan will lead to economic development in all neighboring countries while an insecure Afghanistan will need to presence of foreign troops which is not good in the taste of neighboring countries.
Secondly, the inflexibility of Taliban is also linked to their overconfidence. Unfortunately, the Taliban have the least information about the modern generation of Afghanistan and not aware that the physical violence produces an inverse outcome. Instead of attacking the heart of cities and districts, the Taliban need to occupy the heart of people with messages of peace, brotherhood and advancement of the country. The Taliban should look at the new generation by looking at the number of schools, universities, academic activities, students and participation of men and women in social and economic arenas. The language of the new generation is the language of science, meritocracy and brotherhood, not violence. They will prefer no value other than peace, stability, Islamic brotherhood, and a democratic system in the country. Therefore, the Taliban and their supporters need to get more familiar with the social and cultural facts of current Afghanistan.  Last but not least, poverty is the root cause of most problems in Afghanistan. Most of the insurgent fighters have joined the terrorist groups because of illiteracy, injustice, and poverty. Based on political theories, no political development are achievable without a level of economic growth. Unfortunately, we failed to reduce of poverty and unemployment in the country. We must accept that the economic condition of the country is really terrible.  In 2016, Afghanistan ranked 169th out of 188 countries with 54.5% of the population below the poverty line but based on the latest report released by the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the level of poverty has increased to 72% in late 2020. Unfortunately, the poor management of the free market and lack of a clear economic strategy have further pressurized the people. Therefore, fighting against poverty is not less important than fighting against terrorism.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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