Unstable security a major challenge to Afghanistan

Tuesday, 2019-08-20 17:19:29
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Men carry a coffin as they take part in a burial ceremony of the victims of a suicide bomb blast at a wedding in Kabul, Afghanistan August 18, 2019. (REUTERS)
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NDO - A bloody terrorist attack recently took place in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing 63 people and injuring nearly 200, for which the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility.

The incident comes as the Taliban and the United States (US) are trying to negotiate a deal on the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in exchange for the Taliban's commitment to holding security and peace talks with the Afghan government. However, public opinion still states that security and uncertainty remain major challenges for Afghanistan.

Two days after the deadly attack aimed at a wedding in in a western Kabul neighborhood that is home to a Shiite Hazara community, on August 19, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani pledged to wipe out all IS shelters in the country. The Afghan leader's statement was made in the context of Afghanistan celebrating 100 years of its Independence Day. He strongly condemned the blast, deciding to convene a special security meeting to review and prevent the reoccurrence of similar attacks.

The international community strongly criticised the IS, who were the culprits of the catastrophic bombing in the Afghan capital, and sent sincere condolences to the families of innocent victims. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned those behind the horrific terrorist attack in Kabul, while expressing his "deepest sympathy for the families of the victims as well as the Government and people of Afghanistan". Many countries, including Pakistan, Turkey and Kuwait, have issued statements strongly criticising the bombing, asserting terrorism is a common threat to the entire region and therefore must be defeated.

US National Security Advisor John Bolton said on Twitter that Washington condemned "in the strongest term" the IS' barbaric blast on the wedding party in Kabul that left nearly 63 dead and hundreds injured. He affirmed that the US "always stands with the Afghan government and people". US State Department's spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus also released a statement on the attack, reiterating Washington's position toward it. "The US condemns the despicable (IS) attack at a wedding hall in Kabul. The Afghan people deserve a future free from terror. That is why it is time for all Afghans to join in the peace process and build a united front against the (IS) menace”.

Regardless of the continuing violence in Afghanistan, including the above-mentioned Kabul bombing, US President Donald Trump welcomed the progress in negotiating a peace deal in Afghanistan, saying that separate talks between Washington officials and the Taliban and the Afghan government are going well. President Trump said Washington is keeping all issues "under control", emphasising the bright prospect of a peace deal in Afghanistan, whereby the US will withdraw its troops from the battlefield after nearly 18 years of fighting there.

In the statement, the White House boss left open the US troop withdrawal according to the roadmap. In the immediate future, the troops can be cut by 1,000, compared to the current 14,000.

Many people are doubting whether an agreement between the US and the Taliban on ending the nearly 18-year-old conflict could bring peace to the Afghan people or not. Meanwhile, US representatives involved in talks with the Taliban emphasised that the peace process should be accelerated in order to help Afghanistan defeat the IS.

Recently, US officials and the Taliban representatives concluded the eighth round of talks in Doha, Qatar, on a deal towards terminating the war in Afghanistan. However, observers said that an agreement between the two sides is not enough to end the Afghan war. Because, in fact, the Taliban needs to reach an agreement with the Afghan government, backed by Washington, to end the war. But so far, the Taliban has still rejected the possibility of having direct talks with the Afghan government.

Unstable security remains a major challenge for Afghanistan. According to the UN report, 2018 was the deadliest year in Afghanistan, when at least 3,804 civilians died in violent incidents, including 927 children. In the first seven months of 2019, fighting there has forced more than 217,000 people to flee their homes for shelters, causing humanitarian relief to become an urgent issue throughout the country.