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A Fresh Wave of Violence

UN Staff, IMF Official among 21 Dead in Kabul Attack

The latest terrorist attack on a Lebanese restaurant popular with foreign nationals in Kabul city once again highlighted the worsening situation of security in the country. The Taliban militants immediately claimed responsibility for the attack which claimed lives of many foreigners including top official of the International Monitory Fund in Afghanistan and a number of UN employees. This attack was the most high-profile attack after months of lull in insurgents’ campaign of violence in the cities of Afghanistan.

The attack specifically suggests that there would not be an easy going election ahead, that would be the greatest test for Afghans to peacefully transfer power to the successor of President Karzai after twelve year of direct presence of the international community. The attack is coming after a spate of violent assaults by the militants in different corners of the country.

The insurgent groups have also been trying to organize a psychological warfare against the Afghan government. For instance, the group’s allegation of victory against Afghan and foreign forces is such warfare that would possibly intensify in the near future. In an interview with BBC, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has said that the group was ‘confident for victory’ over NATO forces in Afghanistan. Mujahid alleged that their fighters are everywhere in far remote areas in the provinces.

The latest attack in Kabul is another sign that the security situation is not on the right track. As the election date is inching closer by each day, the Taliban seem determined to mount deadly attacks in Kabul and elsewhere in the run-up to the April presidential and provincial council elections, with the aim to derail the crucial political transition in the country. In recent months and weeks, the militant groups have organized assaults on security personnel and government and military installations. More notable has been the group’s resurgence in rural and far remote areas of insecure provinces in the south and east of the country.

As another warning about a possible comeback of the Taliban after withdrawal of foreign forces, a British military official and an American intelligence assessment said that there were the possibility for the Taliban to make resurgence and threaten the achievements of the past twelve years including regaining territories in the south and west. All these worrisome warnings are indicating that there are conclusions that the Taliban might be able to threaten the mild peace and stability. Though a full-scale resurgence seems highly unlikely, but the fact is that the possibility for the Taliban to threaten security, particularly that of the election is quite possible.

Taliban’s intensified campaign of violence needs to be dealt efficiently by security agencies, as the militants will most likely attempt to intensify their attacks for derailing the upcoming presidential elections. A deterioration of security across the country could result to closing of polling stations in many parts of the insecure areas of the South and East of the country which could potentially damage the legitimacy of the elections and the country’s political stability. Furthermore, it is the time for the Afghan government to end the impasse with Washington over the bilateral security agreement and ensure that the US and NATO will promptly provide extensive security support to Afghan forces.

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