Afghan peace imbroglio

Ayaz Ahmed

Despite spending billions of dollars, lasting and meaningful peace is still a distant dream in war-torn Afghanistan. By capitalising on Afghanistan’s precarious security, Daesh mercilessly killed some 80 beleaguered Hazaras while injuring more than 200 in its recent attacks in the country. The ominous rise of rampaging Daesh in Afghanistan has raised many questions about the fragile peace process in the war-weary country.
Both the resurgent Taliban and Daesh-Khorasan are menacingly immersed in gaining more and more footholds in the north-western provinces of the country. After having acquired full control in 40 districts, the former has forcibly established its narcissist and draconian rules there, while expanding its tentacles to another part of the country. The American-trained security forces of Afghanistan lack the guts and capacity to skilfully outsmart and dwarf the well-trained Taliban.
After its defeat from Syrian and Iraq, deadly Daesh has expedited its endeavours to cultivate its terror in South Asia, especially in war-ravaged Afghanistan. The death of former Taliban chief Mullah Mansour Akhtar has bestowed the militant outfit with a marvellous opportunity to recruit an adequate number of fighters and gain enough hotbeds in the country. Moreover, its early battlefield successes in the Middle East worked well by exhorting some disgruntled Taliban to join it in Afghanistan. At present, the terror outfit has control over large swathes of areas in Nangarhar, Paktika, Nooristan and Badakhan provinces. From these provinces, it continues to conduct its terror attacks on government installations, organises clashes with the Taliban and abducts members of the Hazara community.
Apart from that, some very important security departments and agencies in Afghanistan are being haphazardly managed by acting heads due to political squabbling between the president and the chief executive. The Ministry of Defence and the National Directorate of Security (NDS) are being run by the politicised and incompetent acting heads. Rampant corruption and unbridled nepotism of the incumbent government are chiefly responsible for the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of both the departments. Arguably, Indian strategic and military analysts have made significant inroads into these pivotal security quarters. Therefore, under the implicit sway of India, Afghanistan’s NDS has provided safe shelters to fugitive Pakistan terrorists who escaped to contiguous Afghanistan from the efficacious Operation Zarb-i-Azb.
Consequently, all has brought about a menacing cold war between both the South Asian nuclear powers inside Afghanistan to attain their ends. The by-product of such detrimental competition will be further insecurity and instability in Afghanistan in the foreseeable future. Peace is imperative in Afghanistan at any costs because the same country is the incubator of regional terrorism and militancy. For this, the unity government should bridge its differences on core national matters; the US should announce an early drawdown; India and Pakistan need to converge their interests in Afghanistan and the international community should earnestly come forward to stabilise Afghanistan democratically and make it powerful militarily and prosperous on the economic front.
— The write is freelance columnist based in Karachi.

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