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January 19, 2021

Return of terror

Editorial

 
January 19, 2021

Just as Afghanistan and its people were, over the last few years, gradually claiming some of the normalcy which should be a part of life in every country, a series of targeted killings – which several top figures blame on the Taliban – has pushed the country into chaos once again. On Sunday, two female judges working for the Supreme Court of Afghanistan were killed while on their way to work in a Supreme Court vehicle. The driver was wounded by the gunmen, but escaped death. The US envoy to Afghanistan has blamed the Taliban as has the British envoy and the Afghanistan government led by President Ashraf Ghani. It is quite obvious that things are collapsing very rapidly in Afghanistan.

This is despite the fact that for the present moment, talks continue between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban. However, they do not seem to be making much headway. There has been a resurgence of violence across Afghanistan, most notably in the capital Kabul, where targeted killings have been carried out. The number of US troops in Afghanistan at the moment stands at 2500, the lowest in two decades. This, of course, should be good news for the country, which needs to reclaim its own identity, policies and ability to keep peace and harmony in the land without any intervention from outside. Indeed, the US intervention worsened the conditions in Afghanistan over many years, as has intervention from other countries. But the rapid pull-out offered by the Trump government gave no time to Afghanistan to reorganize its own forces or strengthen a weak security structure. The results have been disastrous. The Taliban who already hold large swathes of territory across the country have now engaged in targeted killings in Kabul and also other major cities. In the latest case, it is believed that judges were made targets, both because they represented judicial authority and because there were women. In the past, the Taliban had targeted women as among their principal victims.

The problem of Afghanistan cannot be ignored much longer. President Ashraf Ghani has said that his government is doing all that it can to hold back the violence. But quite obviously it is struggling. In the meanwhile, it is the people of Afghanistan who suffer. Some way out has to be found, in which the country remains free of foreign control but also free of this kind of relentless violence.