Editorial: Are we losing to fend off Taliban offensives?

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June 7, 2021
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Afghanistan has experienced a weekend of carnage as scores of people, including the army, died in a series of Taliban attacks across the country. Hundreds of Taliban fighters were also killed and wounded as heavy clashes were reported in different provinces with some districts having fallen to the Taliban, a move the Afghan security authorities term it a “tactical retreatment”. On Sunday night, Afghan forces abandoned Shahrak district in western Ghor and Qaisar district in northwestern Faryab province. 11 districts purportedly have fallen to the Taliban over the last month. It is hard to find a province where there is no scuffle. Around 119 people, including 102 security force members have lost their lives in clashes and security incidents in the last two days between 3rd and 4th June. Two perceptions would probably lay behind Taliban’s surge in violence – first, to show its capacity that could overrun or overtake Afghanistan militarily – secondly, to have more leverage in the peace talks as they have only warfare as influence. This portrays how situations are deteriorating with the level of violence remaining high despite ongoing efforts to kick start the stalled peace process. This also shows the gravity of the intensifying conflict with clashes in 24 to 27 provinces every day. The Taliban have carried out 1,455 attacks since the foreign troops began to withdraw. Of course, the Taliban is emboldened by the hasty decision of the US President Joe Biden as he sets September 11 as exit data. Though the Afghan military authorities have designed plans to neutralize the Taliban, it was better for the US to opt for a responsible withdrawal, or at least persuade the Taliban to have violence reduction, if not agreeing on a comprehensive ceasefire. The Taliban are not irresolute even to carry out car bomb attacks and the government is trying to overplay the collapse of the districts as a tactical retreat of the Afghan security forces. What is more worrisome is that the militants have been gaining territorial gains around the country. Meanwhile, there is no doubt that the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces are the cornerstone of a durable peace, and it’s imperative to stand in their support. They are rendering sacrifices on a daily basis to protect from an independent Afghanistan. We, the Afghan people must do everything in their support and we can overcome the difficult time only to come up to the fore with a full support to the Afghan security forces and our unity can defeat militant networks.

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