Balwan Nagial
Balwan Nagial

The situation in Afghanistan is Catastrophic

Civilians in Afghanistan face the brunt of terrorism as the Terrorist groups mainly dominated by the Taliban move from rural areas to cities. As per the United Nations Organisation (UNO) latest report, 40 civilians were killed, and 118 civilians were wounded in the last 24 hours fight at Lashkagah. UN refugee agency UNHCR continues to provide emergency life-saving assistance to the families who have been newly displaced due to violence. About 3,60,000 Afghans have fled their homes. These civilians casualties are the result of an intense fight between Afghan Security Forces and the Terrorist Groups. Afghan forces have intensified their operations as a part of the nationwide offensive against the Taliban and terrorist groups. The local militia has risen to the occasion and helping Afghan Security Forces in this fight against terrorism. Afghanistan Security Forces are fighting alongside the veteran warlord and anti-Taliban commander, Ismail Khan, who has mobilised citizens to take on the militants.  Airstrikes were carried out on Taliban positions.

The European Union’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Tomas Niklasson, believes that this war could worsen. He said he has apprehension that the Taliban way of thinking now was something they had in the past, re-establishing their Islamic emirate. Moreover, the former head of the British Armed Forces, Gen David Richards, warned that the international withdrawal could collapse the Afghan Army’s morale, leading to Taliban control and possibly a renewed international terrorist threat. Humanitarian organisations have also warned of a significant crisis in the coming months. The Taliban continue their offensive with a lack of food, water and services, and overcrowding in camps for the displaced.

The Taliban and other terrorist organisation led insurgency remains robust even after nearly two decades after U.S.-led forces tumbled the Taliban led regime in Afghanistan in the United States’ longest war. However, the Taliban regrouped and gradually regained strength despite a continued international presence, billions of dollars of support and training for the Afghan government forces.

The term ‘War on Terrorism’was used to set out the US-led worldwide counter-terrorism crusade against the terrorist organisations after the 9/11 attack on the US. This was the commencement of a  new chapter in international political relations and has had significant consequences for security, human rights, International law, collaboration, and domination. Now the world has moved closer to contest a new but a different war, the first of its kind, and we hope the only one, of the 21st century. A war in contrast to all those who seek to export terror, and a war against those governments that support or shelter them.[1]

The military aspect of this war on terrorism was significant wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, clandestine actions in Yemen and elsewhere. Its intelligence aspect consisted of institutional reshuffle and substantial increase in the funding of the US intelligence gathering, increasing cooperation with foreign intelligence agencies tracking and interception of terrorist financing. Its diplomatic aspect encompassed enduring efforts to shape and organise global partner nations and international institutions, including the United Nations Organisation(UNO).

President Biden declares that the US will not meet the time limit set under the U.S.-Taliban promise to withdraw all troops by May 1 and instead release a plan for a complete withdrawal by Sept11, 2021. “It is time to end America’s longest war,” he says. Biden says Washington will continue to assist Afghan security forces and support the peace process.

 The achievements in the early years of the ‘War on Terrorism’ included putting hundreds of terrorists globally under arrest, the dissuasion of major terrorist attacks on the soil of the US, the overthrowing of the Taliban rule and subsequently the shutting of terrorist-training camps in Afghanistan, the imprisonment or annihilation of many of al-Qaeda’s old associates, and augmented the level of international cooperation in international counter-terrorism initiatives.

However, some contended that the overall disappointments of the US  counter-terrorism fight eclipsed its accomplishments. Analyses believed that the ‘War on Terrorism in Afghanistan had disseminated the al-Qaeda network, thus making it even difficult to counter. Correspondingly, the attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq had increased the anti-Americanism by Muslims, intensifying the communication of Jihadis and unifying different organisations in a shared religious concern.  Many other critics contended that the ‘War on Terrorism’ was a mock camouflage to pursue a larger US geopolitical agenda involving regulatory global oil reserves, increasing defence expenditure, increasing the country’s international military presence, and refuting the strategic challenge posed by various regional powers.[2]

The reckless development of the jihadist terrorists since 2001 has been enormous. When the ‘War on Terrorism’ began, roughly 32,200 fighters were comprising 13 Islamist-inspired terror organisations. By 2015, as Table 1 indicates, the estimate had swollen to more than 100,000 fighters spread across 44 Islamist-inspired terror groups.[3]

In the 20th year of the war and in their 7th year of securing the country, the Afghan National Defence Security Forces (ANDSF) continue to face significant challenges in holding territory and defending population centres. In contrast, the Taliban continues to contest districts and carry out suicide attacks in major cities. The US has been fighting in Afghanistan for the last 20 years and has spent more than $2trn on the war. It has lost thousands of its soldiers and seen the death of tens of thousands of Afghans, both combatants and non-combatants alike. Now the US is calling an end to the whole sorry adventure, with almost nothing to show for it.[4]

An effective counter-terrorism policy should aim at: firstly, we should treat the community as a focal point, deny its sustenance to terrorist organisations, provisioning security both physical and moral,  systematic education, sustainable development and psychological effectiveness. Secondly, initiation of the process of deradicalisation by involving various sections of society. Thirdly, by using effective force to eradicate terrorist organisations and their networks. Thirdly, by choking support by the state to terrorism. Finally, by founding an effectual intelligence system through intelligence acquisition and psychological operations.

Conclusion: It is imperative that the Taliban led terrorist groups understand and recognise that seizing power through violence would not sustain them longer. Attacks of terrorist groups have further paralysed the life of ordinary people almost to a grinding halt. Violence and terror have become akin to the Taliban in Afghanistan. The way things happening in Afghanistan, very soon, it will be on the verge of ‘civil war’. UN must mediate and end the fighting immediately.

No one can fight this war on behalf of the people of Afghanistan, and the International community can only support them in their fight. Pakistan is directly involved Afghanistan conflict and crisis, and treating it as a friend of Afghanistan would be a great blunder. Many leaders  Taliban and other terrorist organisations are there in Pakistan.

The international community seeks a secure, stable, and self-reliant Afghanistan that does not provide sanctuary for the Taliban and other terrorist groups. That is a crossroads for an increasingly prosperous and secure region. A secured Afghanistan would be a country with low levels of violence defended and policed by its local, regional, and national forces. Security means an end to open conflict between the government and insurgents and warlords and the sort of daily safety that allows citizens to work and guide their children to schools. It means a country free from the frequent fear of violence or death, whether targeted or random.

[1] The Global War on Terrorism: The First 100 Days › rls. Accessed on July 18, 2021.

[2] war on terrorism | Summary & Facts | Britannica › … › International Relations. Accessed on July 06, 2021

[3] Step Back: Lessons for U.S. Foreign Policy from the Failed … › policy-analysis › step-back-lesso. Accessed on July 05, 2021

[4] America’s war in Afghanistan is ending in crushing defeat. › … › Jul 10th 2021 edition

About the Author
Colonel Balwan Nagial retired from the Indian Army in 2019 after serving for thirty years. Managed administration, security, project mgt throughout his service. He loves writing and contributing in newspapers and magazines in India. He loves Israeli culture.
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