KABUL (Pajhwok): Civilian casualties increased by 33 percent last week compared to the previous week amid slow-going peace efforts and unconfirmed reports regarding the construction of military bases for US forces across the Durand Line.
- Reports that US building bases across Durand Line denied by Afghan, Pakistani and US governments
- Taliban threaten response if US builds bases across Durand
- US, NATO forces may complete withdrawal before Biden’s September deadline: Pentagon
- Peace process underway at slow pace
- Government and Taliban accuse each other of lacking commitment to peace
- Civilian casualties increased by 33 percent last week comparing to the previous week
Attacks, Civilian casualties:
Last week 22 civilians were killed and 43 others injured in 17 attacks in 12 provinces — Helmand, Faryab, Badakhshan, Jawzjan, Kabul, Laghman, Nangarhar, Kapesa, Parwan and Farah.
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.
Construction of military bases across the Durand Line:
Last week, some sources reported that US has started work on construction of military bases across the Durand Line but Pentagon, Afghan and Pakistani government rejected the reports.
Earlier, David F. Helvey, Assistant Secretary of Defence for Indo-Pacific Affairs, told the US Senate Armed Services Committee last week: “Pakistan has played an important role in Afghanistan. They supported the Afghan peace process. Pakistan also has allowed us to have overflight and access to be able to support our military presence in Afghanistan,” MrHelvey said.
“We will continue our conversations with Pakistan because their support and contribution to the future of Afghanistan, to future peace in Afghanistan, is going to be critical,” he added.
The Taliban in response to the construction of US bases across the Durand Line said the people of Afghanistan will not remain silent in this regard and party determent to the construction of military bases will face the consequences and the responsibility will lie on them.
Opposing views on US forces pull out from Afghanistan:
According to the Taliban and US Peace Agreement, all US forces should have left Afghanistan by May 01, but US administration later changed their mind and US President extended the pull out to September 11, this year. NATO subsequently announced the pullout of their forces from Afghanistan as well.
Delay in the foreign forces pull out drew criticism but US Defece Secretary Lloyd J. Austin last week said the pull out of US and NATO forces may complete before the dateline.
Last week a former US military official said that it was difficult for the US to leave Afghanistan. He said US injected billons of dollars in its war in Afghanistan, it lost military personnel and some who returned from Afghanistan and Iraq committed suicide.
President Ashraf Ghani termed the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan the beginning of a new chapter and called on the Taliban to think about reconciliation instead of fighting because in Afghanistan reasons for internal confrontation had perished.
Besides the pull out of foreign forces Australia announced it is closing its diplomatic mission in Afghanistan due to uncertain security situation but the Taliban in response said the group would ensure the safety of diplomats.
Conflicting sides accuse each other:
First Vice President AmrulahSaleh said the Taliban would be blamed for every day delay in peace process because according to Saleh the government was ready to announce ceasefire right from tomorrow and talk on reconciliation instead of fighting.
Presidential advisor in political and security matters Mohammad Mohaqiq also said the Taliban have no interest in peace.
But the Taliban Senior Member Ameer Khan Mutaqi said the opposing side [Afghan government] was looking for a pretext to delay peace talks.
Slow-paced peace talks:
The Afghan government and the Taliban negotiating team members last Sunday held a meeting in Doha. It was the second meeting in the past 15 days. Intra-Afghan talks began almost nine months ago but still the two sides have not agreed on the agenda of these talks.
Some sources said Istanbul gathering on Afghan peace process may be organized in late June between the Taliban, Afghan government and some national and international stakeholders.
This meeting could help accelerate peace talks but the Taliban recent statements shattered this hope as well.
According to a report, the Taliban said the group will attend Istanbul meeting provided that this meeting is short, the Taliban representation is at the lowest level and no decisions on major issues are taken during the meeting.
Political parties, civil society organizations:
Jamiat-i-Islami Leader Salahuddin Rabbani said if the Taliban think they could overrun Afghanistan after the withdrawal of foreign forces they are mistaken in their own assessment. “The Taliban should know that the people of Afghanistan’s believe in independence and justice has strengthened several times now comparing during the previous resistance period.”
Access to Information Commission said that government should not hide information regarding peace from the people, but Dawa Khan Menapal, head of the Government Media and Information Centre (GMIC) said all civilian institutions of government were bound to share on time information with the media. He added the government was not interested in holding its monopoly over information or hide them from the masses.
In Balkh province, a gathering dedicated to peace was organized while in Paktika, 15 days volleyball, football and cricket matches were organized, all these events were dedicated to peace and reconciliation in the country.