Afghanistan hurt again

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Afghanistan hurt again

World must unite to help Kabul fight Taliban

The attack on a large number of unarmed Afghan forces is yet again indicative of the growing footprint of the Taliban, and speaks volumes about the state of security in the war-torn country. Both, however, point towards the need to tackle the situation with a growing sense of purpose. The attack, which claimed the lives of more than 100 soldiers, is the latest in a string of deadly assaults against the Afghan military in recent times. It was only in March this year that the terror organisation attacked an Army hospital in Kabul. The latest attack took place on Friday afternoon, when some security forces were performing their prayers and others were having lunch at their headquarters in Mazar-i-Sharif. The attackers, disguised in military uniforms, drove into the military base in Army vehicles, blew off the check posts, and penetrated deep into the Army's northern headquarters and killed the forces using rocket-propelled grenades and rifles. While the incident is tragic, it points towards the myriad problems that the Afghan forces face today. That the militants could enter the 209th Army Corps headquarters, which is a highly protected installation with multi-layered security, cannot be condoned hastily. An attack on the Army establishment is equivalent to an attack on the country's sovereignty. There can also be no denial of the fact that ever since the Afghan Taliban were ousted from power in 2001, and more so since they have lost two of their prominent leaders, which includes Mullah Omar, they have made several attempts to derail the peace process and reconstruction efforts of the Afghan Government.

No amount of mourning, condemnation or assurances to fight the Taliban on the part of the Government has shown any visible gains. It’s now time that this brutality by the Taliban must stop. All talks of going soft on this terror organisation, as some in the West have suggested, to differentiate between the many Talibans — supposedly the ‘good' Taliban and the ‘bad' Taliban, have been meaningless. All such distinctions are just an eye-wash  in fighting the real threat as all terror groups later assimilate with common aims and methods. It is quite obvious, as Kabul has been repeatedly saying, that Pakistan has been playing a major role in promoting Talibani elements. It will be good if the West stops promoting sections within this group who claim to want rapprochement with them. However, this is not to say that matters cannot be solved by way of peace talks. Although talks have been initiated, but the Taliban have shown no signs of meaningful compromise. The few moderate Talibani elements are the ones that are largely insignificant in the larger scheme of things and cannot be trusted at all. This also brings into question the advisability of the US-led West in pulling out all its troops from Afghanistan. The withdrawal has further complicated matters as it has given the Taliban the leverage to take control of the country. Afghanistan needs strong support from the international community, which it in any case has today. But it needs support by way of strengthening of arms and ammunition, military strategy and also in terms of more resources and training of the forces to take on the Taliban. India has been doing its bit but more needs to be done.

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