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Horrific act of terrorism once again in Afghanistan

Human Rights Watch condemned the murderous twin attacks in Kabul, Afghanistan as “unspeakable act and apparent war crime.”

The heinous first attack was on maternity ward of hospital in southwest of Kabul killing 24 people including newborn babies. The terrorists calculated the time to be the holy month of Ramazan and once again targeted Shia neighbourhood. No group claimed responsibility for the attack. While United Nations has demanded that “the perpetrators face justice.”

The second attack was by a suicide bomber killing 32 people at a funeral in Nangarhar in the east of Afghanistan. This was the second such attack since US has signed historic peace treaty with Taliban. Recently Afghan President Ashraf Ghani claimed that ISIS had been “obliterated” from its stronghold- Nangarhar.

Although Taliban denied any responsibilities for both attacks Afghan leaders and government blamed Taliban for these vicious attacks. In the past both ISIS and Taliban have been responsible for such attacks.  

Both attacks are war crimes.  It is important to be noted that the maternity clinic is supported by the international aid organization, ‘Doctors Without Borders’. Attacks on health care in Afghanistan have increased sharply since 2017.

The peace-treaty negotiations between the US and Taliban continue to remain uncertain.  Taliban expects the prisoners to be released before talks but Afghan government plan is for after the negotiations.  At the same time political rivalry continues between President Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah. Both were unable to resolve dispute over last election as both claimedvictory.  

Afghan peace treaty faces roadblock as President Ghani has not agreed to release 5000 Taliban prisonersas part of the agreement. Political observers see that once Taliban achieve the objectives of the peace-treaty; Ghani will be ousted while Abdullah resume to control the power.

Tom Malinowski, US representative for New Jersey questioned why 5000 Taliban prisoners were included in the agreement if it had not been intended that such significant number of prisoners be released as expected by Taliban.

As US wishes to leave from the mess they made in Afghanistan, things are getting more complicated. The Afghan political realm evolved within ingrainedterrorism while civilians have been paying the price since Russia invaded in 1979.

The main characters on the Afghan political chess board are US, Taliban, rivalry between President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah and on top is ISIS.

The recent attacks prove the existence of ISIS in the troubled terrain particularly in Nangarhar.  At the same time Taliban wanted prove that political dust will not be settled without them. 

A permanent peace and political stability will only prevail when foreign acters leave Afghanistan with the political and security mess they created, while accepting Taliban as a political reality. The indigenous Taliban were trained to counter Russia during the Cold War and it would be wise to bring them to thenegotiation table rather than seeing them as a security hazard.

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