It is unfortunate to note that Afghanistan has had a lengthy history of instability and chaos and Afghan civilians have mostly suffered as a result of all the misfortunes. There is one particular chapter that had the most heinous influence on the people of Afghanistan and it is still affecting them in so many ways; and that chapter is the chapter of Talibanization and the growth of terrorism within the country.
Taliban did not only introduce the extremist religious ideas and practices but they also established connections with international terrorist group – al-Qaeda. The loose control over the rise of extremism and even its appreciation disseminated it throughout most parts of the country and the common people have been suffering since then.
To fight the growing terrorism that had started threatening the whole world, US and its allies chose to fight it in its shelter, which at that time was, unfortunately, Afghanistan. After the incident of 9/11 there has been a clash between the Taliban and Western forces on Afghan soil. Though in the very beginning of the war Taliban insurgents did not have much option except to flee; unfortunately, that running away was just to find refuge at a save place and return through different techniques and threaten the Western and the Afghan forces.
Instead of opting for direct war they have opted to attack through Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), suicide bombings, ambushes, targeted killings, and other tactics. Unfortunately, these tactics of them have influenced the peace and tranquility of the country to a large extent and have even influenced the social-psychology by haunting it through insecurity complex. At the same time they have taken the lives of thousands of civilians, which is the most unfortunate outcome of these filthy arrangements.
A recent report presented by United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) shows that around 80 percent of the civilian casualties that have occurred in the first six months of the ongoing year is caused by the Taliban insurgents. Though there has been a 15 percent decrease in the civilian casualties during the mentioned time as compared to the same era last year, the number is still very high – 1,145; while around 1,954 people have been injured. It is also important to note that the IEDs still remain the most deadly for civilians as well. The report also disclosed that there has been about 53 percent rise in the targeted killings. It also clarified that IEDs caused 29 percent of the casualties, targeted killings caused 22 percent of them and pro-government elements caused 10 percent of all the casualties.
Deputy Special Representative of Secretary-General Nicholas Haysom, while encouraging the decline in civilian casualties, said, “But we must remember that Afghan children, women and men continue to be killed and injured at alarmingly high levels." He urged all parties to the conflict to redouble their efforts to protect civilians from harm and to respect the sanctity of human life.
Though the report mentioned above shows decline in civilian casualties, there are security concerns in the country, especially after the rise in insecurity in the last couple of years. With the deterioration of peace and tranquility there are dangers that war, which Afghan and US officials claim has ended, may continue; if not the war against terrorism, some other war may be initiated, unless a true transition happens. So, in the so-called final phase of the war, the war is getting notorious to a larger extent. It is not just the Western public who consider it notorious; the people in Afghanistan have started thinking in the same manner.
The common masses in Afghanistan must bother about the deterioration in security as they are basically the ones who have been suffering and may suffer to a further extent if instability and terrorism prevail in the country. It is really pathetic to see the civilians losing their lives when they have nothing to do with the war. In the economically unstable and war-torn country like Afghanistan, people have not only suffered the hardships of the poor and miserable lives but also the horrors of war.
They have been killed mercilessly as if their lives do not have any value or meaning and it is important to see that the Taliban are mostly behind the demise of the poor civilians. It is really unfortunate to note that they still remain powerful enough to conduct their merciless efforts to target the civilians in addition to the Afghan and international forces.
Different attacks, bombings, shootings and suicide bombings of the vicious guardians of the so-called holy war have only been able to target the children, women and non-military figures. With the presence of such facts, it is weird to find Taliban calling themselves friendly to Afghan people.
They have been trying to develop an image of caring and affectionate body that is trying to liberate the people of Afghanistan from the Western forces. But the fact is just on the contrary. They just want power and for that they will never hesitate to sacrifice the poor Afghan people. If they come to power, it is evident that Afghan people will never have peace, contentment and above all their due rights.
Coupled with the rise in terrorism there is the concern of the lack of professionalism and commitment of Afghan troops. They have not been able to show great determination towards their duties and seem to be easily distracted by the terrorists. There have been many occasions when Afghan soldiers have raised arms against their foreign officers. Moreover, there has been severe unease about the corruption that has been able to creep within the Afghan forces. There have been many occasions when they are found violating the law themselves.
With the current rise and swelling wave of terrorism, it should not be neglected that Taliban have been able to grow largely in the recent few years. The transition period, instead of pointing towards progress and improvement, seems to be going the other way. In fact the overall process of transition does not seem to be working well. This period does not have to be only a transfer of security responsibility from international forces to Afghan forces, rather it should be comprehensive enough to include within its folds the overall political and economic stability and better life opportunities for all the Afghan people.
The post transition period in Afghanistan has to be a period that can give poverty stricken Afghan people their basic requirements; provide them better representation and participation in political and social life; make them capable of governing themselves appropriately.