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The Call for Justice

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Condemning the Friday’s attack, hundreds of activists and civil society members in Kabul called on the Afghan government and the international community to implement justice and support those who fall victims of the violence raged by terrorist groups in Afghanistan. The Friday’s attack on a Lebanese hotel in Kabul, which killed eight Afghans and 13 foreign nationals, including the head of the IMF office in Afghanistan, was followed with broad condemnations from the international community.

The activists urged the Afghan government not to release Taliban prisoners without their cases considered by judges and their innocence proved in courts. The demonstrators asked for an end to terrorism in Afghanistan and asked the international community not to abandon Afghanistan and continue to support Afghans in the future.

The rally in Kabul is echoing the calls from civil society on the Afghan officials to provide justice for victims of war crimes and terrorist attacks. Afghan president Hamid Karzai has long been wooing the insurgent groups through releasing prisoners, and more recently, perhaps by refusing to sign the bilateral security agreement with the United States despite its approval by the Loya Jirga. Such approach by the Afghan president has sparked concerns whether the Afghan government is committed to application of a policy that would boost security and help implement justice in the country.

The Afghan government has been often blamed for negligence and arbitrary handling of prisoners release and leniency towards the militants who are accused of killing foreign and Afghan forces and ordinary civilians. The criticisms to the lenient behavior of the government of Afghanistan is particularly highlighted when the insurgents use the government’s release program as an opportunity to return back to the battlefield and fight against Afghanistan’s security forces. The objections do not only come from opposition groups and civil organizations but also are confirmed by Afghan military and intelligence officials.

The sharp rise in violence by the Taliban is exactly coming at a time when the Afghan government is planning to release hundreds of prisoners of the militant groups. In fact, the release of the militants from prisons are seen as an award to the Taliban as they are continuing their deadly attacks against Afghan security forces and the ordinary Afghans. While the government expects a peace talks overture from the Taliban, the militants miss no opportunity to continue their deadly attacks in cities of Afghanistan. This is virtually meaning that the insurgent groups are not yet prepared for entering in peace talks with the government.

Given Taliban’s determination to step up their attacks, the Afghan government needs to immediately review its policies towards the militant groups. Afghanistan needs to support the war-affected victims and provide justice for them. In dealing with the Taliban insurgency, the best and most pragmatic policy would be that the government uses the policy of ‘stick and the carrot’ to encourage them into entering peace talks, while on the other side, continuing to crush them militarily.

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