Conflict Alerts

Conflict Alerts # 2, 30 July 2019

Afghanistan: Taliban talks peace, but continues with violence
Mahath Mangal

In the news

In July three explosions have claimed the lives of at least 15 people in the Afghan capital of Kabul. A bus carrying employees of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum was one target. It took the lives of 8 employees and wounding 27 others. A magnetic bomb was pasted onto the bus. Another bomb exploded metres away from this spot killing at least seven and wounding at least 20. The attacker had blown himself up. The third blast was a car bomb. This attack alone was claimed responsibility for by the Taliban- which is contesting for control over the country against the government.

The other two explosions were later claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL also referred to as ISIS). While acts of showing power between terror outfits, the loss of lives have been tremendous and sadly, a common sight in the country today.

Issue at large

The country has been reeling from frequent attacks from the Taliban and ISIS. Afghanistan has been a stage for several conflicts for the last 18 years between the Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the US-led NATO’s intervention forces. The incidents of bombings in the country are very frequent. The number of terrorist organisations operating in Afghanistan has been a huge challenge to the security of the region.

Following the September 11 attacks, the Taliban was removed from power in Afghanistan in 2001 by the US for harbouring Al-Qaeda. Following which, a coalition of US-led NATO forces has been operating in the country with the aim of obliterating such terror outfits. The presence of westerners has also been a cause for much of the reactionary terrorism rising from the country.

While the US was successful in bringing democracy to the country in 2005, there was political turmoil between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah in 2014. While the condition was improving, the Obama Administration announced it would be pulling the forces out of Afghanistan in 2011.

With the withdrawing troops, the Taliban grew in their influence. Today controlling at least half of Afghanistan’s territory Taliban is a key player in the country. The US has been holding talks with the Taliban. Seven rounds in- the negotiations have become high level. though the aim is to expedite peace-bringing, it seems a distant reality today.

In perspective

The objective of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan is to remove the foreign forces from Afghan soil and reclaim power over the country ousting the current government. The Taliban refuses to negotiate with the US in presence of the Afghan Government citing they are mere puppets in the hands of the Westerners.

Having a sour history with each other, the peace talks have not made any significant result in the ground.

With the peace process on and the withdrawal deals are in the talks, the recent bombings in the country are acts to gain more leverage by the Taliban. With an escalation of tensions and display of their influence within the borders, the Taliban is showcasing in broad daylight that its grip over the country is deep and firm, also a gauge showing the weaker position of the legitimate government of Afghanistan.

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