KABUL (Pajhwok): The US and NATO announcements regarding the withdrawal of their troops from Afghanistan spread fears about a civil war in the country while the fate of upcoming Istanbul Conference on Afghan peace process is facing uncertainity.
There was a 32 percent surge in civilian casualties last week compared to the previous week.
- US and NATO announced to pull their forces out of Afghanistan by September 11 this year
- Foreign forces’ withdrwal from Afghanistan by September 11 is in violation of the Doha Agreement and allows us to take any step: Taliban
- Head of the Hezb-i-Wahdat Party says if the Taliban chose fighting they are also ready to fight them back
- If fighting intensifes, common people are ready to take arms along with security forces and are ready to defend the country: President Ghani
- Withdrawal of foreign forces may pave the way for civil war in the country: Some Wolesi Jirga members
- We will not take part in any negotiation until foreign forces leave Afghanistan: Taliban on Turkey meeting
Casualties and attacks:
Last week, 33 civilians were killed and 45 others injured in 19 attacks in 10 provinces — Farah, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Sar-i-Pul, Balkh, Uruzgan, Baghlan, Ghazni and Herat.
No group claimed responsibility for these attacks.
Most of the casualties were in Farah, Kandahar and Nangarhar.
The government has not spoken about these casualties but the Taliban Spokesperson ZabihullahMujahid claimed 11 people were killed and 19 others, including women and children, were injured in eight provinces of the country.
In these attacks, security forces and the Taliban also suffered casualties but Pajhwok did not publish the figures because enough information with authentic sources was not available to support their casualty figures.
The United Nations Assistant Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA) report claimed 30 percent surge in civilian casualties from October 2020 to March 2021 compared to the corresponding period in the previous year.
Withdrawal of foreign forces:
The US has said that it would start the withdrawal of its forces from Afghansitan on May 01 and the process will be completed by September 11 this year.
NATO countrie also announced the withdrawal of troops during the same period.
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani welcomed US and NATO troops withdrwal from Afghanistan and said Afghan security forces were ready and capable to defend their country.
The Taliban in their reaction said if the US violated Doha Agreement they reserve the right to take every step and the US would be responsible for its conseqences.
According to the Taliban-US peace agreement, all foreign forces should leave Afghansitan by May 1, 2021.
Fears of civil war:
Some Wolesi Jirga members and common people stressed the need for responsible withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan. They believe the current circumstances did not favour foreign forces withdrawal and feared possibility of a civil war in the country if foreign forces left Afghansitan. But some people welcomed foreign forces pullout from Afghanistan.
Preparation for war and threats:
Mohamamd Mohaqiq, an advisor to the president and head of Hizb-i-Wahdat political party, said that withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan would pave way for civil war and he was ready to fight the Taliban if the rebels wanted so.
President Ghani also said that ‘people are also armed’ and would fight alongside 350,000 Afghan forces if the war escalated.
However, Taliban say that they have won the war and the US has been defeated.
On the other hand, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Taliban should not think about starting a civil war if the group wanted to be recognized internationally, and its leaders could travel without restrictions.
Deborah Lyons, UNAMA head, says any opportunity for peace should be availed but if the violence was not reduced, it would lead to the loss of thousands of Afghans in 2021.
The Turkey conference on Afghan peace is expected to be held on April 24. The conference is aimed to find a political settlement to the Afghan conflict.
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, head of Hizb-i-Islami Afghanistan, today termed the delay in foreign forces withdrawal as violation of the US-Taliban agreement and said the move complicated the situation and the Turkey conference.
A week back, Taliban had said that they would not attend any conferences until all foreign forces withdrew from Afghanistan.
Political parties, politicians and civil society performance on peace:
Afghanistan Salvation Movement supported creation of an interim government for paving the way for peace.
Nai, an organization supporting open media in Afghanistan, has stressed on the role of media in Turkey conference.
A number of youths from Paktia province and some people from Balkh province in different gatherings asked for ceasefire during the holy month of Ramadan. Some people in Nangarhar and Uruzgan provinces announced their support for the republican system.