KABUL (Pajhwok): Despite ongoing efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, there has been 20 percent increase in casualties in April compared to the number of people killed and wounded in March.
As part of ongoing peace efforts, a grand Peace Jirga has been underway in capital Kabul and the sixth round of US-Taliban talks begins in Qatar as well.
According to Pajhwok Afghan News report over 1,500 people suffered casualties in March while in April nearly 1,900 people killed in wounded.
Based on different sources, Pajhwok Afghan News reports showed that 1,072 people were killed and 792 others injured in attacks in 29 out of 34 provinces last month.
The casualties inflicted as a result of 153 different attacks, 20 percent higher than in March.
Of these attacks, 52 carried out by government armed opponents, 50 by security forces, 14 by foreign forces and there was no claim of responsibility for the remaining attacks.
According to the information, last month of every 18 persons 11 suffered casualties in face to face attacks, three in airstrikes, two in blasts and one each in targeted and suicide attacks.
Last month, most of the attacks 21 took place Nangarhar province, 20 in Ghazni, 12 in Faryab, 10 in Jawzjan and the remaining 90 attacks took place in 25 provinces.
In April, there was no report of casualties from Bamyan, Daikundi, Uruzgan, Panjshir and Nuristan provinces.
According to Pajhwok reports 1,072 people were killed and 797 others injured during different attacks in April.
Rebels, security forces and civilians were among the casualties. But Pajhwok could not compile specific casualty figures because different sources provided different accounts.
Last month, not a single day passed without attacks or casualties, but higher number of casualties on a single day took place on 15th of April in 11 attacks which left 106 people killed and 141 others injured.
Defence analysts link the rise and fall in casualties to tactical approach toward fighting. Military experts believe greater casualties happen in more populated places in guerrilla warfare.
Reasons behind intensified clashes
Atiqullah Amarkhel, a retired general and military expert, said that the warring sides were trying to intensify their attacks for leverage in the ongoing peace talks and to come to agreement on their terms.
Another reason behind the increased attacks was support from some countries especially Pakistan, Iran and Russia with the Taliban so they were able to portray that foreign forces particularly the US had failed in Afghanistan.
Qais Mangal, defense ministry spokesman say that Afghan forces were fighting aggressively not because of leverage in peace process but for the defense of the country.
“Unfortunately the enemy also intensified their guerilla attacks and show reaction to our operations, but they have no any gains, casualties usually increase with more attacks,” he said.
Afghan forces, supported by foreign troops, have been fighting the Taliban for the past 17 years. Past experience shows casualties and attacks surge in Afghanistan in summer and decline in winter.
Casualties in the first quarter of the ongoing year have fallen by 14 percent but the rate is almost similar to that period of 2017.
In 2017, around 25,000 people suffered casualties compared to around 27,000 people killed or injured in 2018. In the last four months of 2019, more than nearly 6,300 people suffered casualties.
Common people who are worried about increase in insecurity in warm weather ask the warring sides to agree on a ceasefire when peace talks are ongoing.
Call for ceasefire
Lima Spesali, a resident of the capital Kabul, say that ongoing peace efforts inside the country and abroad was a great chance for reaching a peace agreement in Afghanistan.
She voiced on warring sides not to miss the opportunity and put an end to war in the country.
“I ask those involved in the conflict to agree on a ceasefire before reaching to a peace agreement, do it for the benefit of our people and end to bloodshed,” she said.
Ahmad Shoaib, a resident of Farah City, told Pajhwok he lost one of his brothers to a suicide attack two years ago. “Peace is blessing. The Afghans are being killed on different pretexts for the last four decades. Our life is really painful.”
Shoaib said each time when he enters home and see his orphaned nephews, his pain recurs. He thinks all Afghans — soldiers, Taliban or civilians — who lose relatives to the war would have the same feelings.
Shoaib asked parties to the conflict not to lose the present opportunity of peace and be ready for sacrifices to end the bloodshed by making the peace process a success story.