GP Insights # 149, 21 September 2019
Afghanistan witnessed deadly attacks by the Taliban on 17 and 19 September 2019. Two suicide attacks killed at least 48 people and injured dozens of others. One was in the Parwan province which is north of the capital Kabul; an election rally where President Ashraf Ghani was to speak was attacked, killing 26. The second attack was near the US embassy in central Kabul, which killed 22 people. Another attack took place outside a hospital in southern Afghanistan, where Taliban militants detonated a truck packed with explosives. Most of the victims in the attack were doctors and patients.
Officials also stated that 16, many of whom were civilians, had been killed in a US airstrike aimed at Islamic State militants in the east. The Afghan defence ministry stated that the attack took place on Wednesday night in Khogyani district in Nangarhar province.
What is the background?
The Afghan conflict continues to be one of the deadliest in the world. The 18-year conflict would have come to an end with the Taliban, and the US almost reached a peace deal in early September. However, with US President Donald Trump pulling out of the agreement after a Taliban attack in Kabul killed a US soldier and 11 others on 6 September 2019 there has again been a turn of events.
The Taliban have continued to carry out deadly attacks almost every day since then. The national elections scheduled for the end of this month has also been a reason for the increase in attacks by the Taliban.
What does it mean?
The situation in Afghanistan continues to become more complex as time goes by. Attacks such as these only push Afghanistan further away from reaching any settlement. These kinds of situations increase tension and interrupt the peace process.
Without a deal, Afghanistan is not going to see any change. The struggle for power will only continue to cause more damage. For which the Taliban and the Afghanistan Government along with the US need to come to a consensus which would cater to the agenda of everyone.
There needs to be an immediate measure to look at two things: first, to see that both Taliban and NATO-backed Afghan forces that are on the offensive now are cooled down. And second, to ensure that the elections that have been delayed twice already will take place this month. More fighting means more civilian casualties who have to continue to bear the brunt of the long and bloody conflict.