KABUL (Pajhwok): Civilian casualties surged 2.5 times last week compared to the previous week at a time when peace efforts have been slow going while Afghan and Pakistani officials exchanged harshly-worded statements.
- Foreign forces pullout may produce dangerous consequences: President Ghani, Pakistan, NATO
- Will continue to support Afghanistan after the end of military mission: NATO, US, EU
- Afghan, Pakistani officials utterance intensified
- Afghanistan needs two peace accords, one with Pakistan and second with Taliban: Ghani
- Some people worried at differences within the republic side and warns the system is on the brink of collapse
- Peace process should be excluded from foreigners influence
- People want ceasefire and peace
- Last week, 164 people were killed and injured in Afghanistan
Attacks and Casualties:
Forty-seven civilians were killed and 117 others injured in 23 attacks in 16 provinces — Kabul, Baghlan, Kapisa, Parwan, Nangarhar, Ghor, Kunar, Helmand, Khost, Zabul, Kandahar, Faryab, Paktia, Ghazni, Herat and Laghman.
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 casualty figures.
UNAMA last week said violence and civilian casualties should be immediately decreased for the sake of progress in peace talks.
This comes as the Taliban and Afghan government sides kicked off intra Afghan talks last year in Doha. No substantial progress has been made so far and the two sides have agreed upon procedural rules only.
Doha talks are underway at slow pace and the two sides rarely meet for discussion.
Concerns over foreign forces withdrawal from Afghanistan:
NATO and US forces withdrawal may be completed until September this year, according to reports.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that the pullout of foreign forces from Afghanistan may have dangerous consequences, adding that letting troops to stay was not part of solution as well.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said: ““There is a lot of fear right now in Pakistan and I assure you that we are trying our level best that there is some sort of political settlement before the Americans leave.”
President Ashraf Ghani termed Taliban, foreign terrorist groups, Pakistan, regional interferences and market downfall as major threatening challenges in the post US and NATO troop’s withdrawal.
Afghanistan, Pakistan relations:
The Afghan government always accuses Pakistan of supporting the Taliban, an allegation Pakistan denies.
President Ghani last week said: “Afghanistan needs two peace accords, one with Pakistan and another with the Taliban, they are indispensable.”
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah MahmoodQureshi recently alleged some groups in Afghanistan were harming the peace process
Afghanistan Foreign Ministry in response to earlier allegation said: “Peace spoilers are those who undermine Afghanistan and international community legitimate demands for peace.” It added peace in Afghanistan that ensures regional, including Pakistan’s; interest could not be achieved just by issuing statements.”
This comes as on Friday during a trilateral meeting of Afghanistan, China and Pakistan foreign ministers stressed over more efforts for peace in Afghanistan.
Cracks within the Republic side:
Chainman of the High Council for National Reconciliation (CHNR) Abdullah Abdullah said: “There are major differences and there is possibility of the system collapse if these problems are not resolved and public questions not answered.”
Jamiat-i-Islami Afghanistan senior leader YounisQanoni said if reforms within the system were not introduced, there was possibility of another crisis.
Government negotiating team member Abdul Hafeez Mansour said: “There is a leader in the Presidential Palace who appoints his personal friends in the name of national figures to key posts, sometimes Mohib takes charge and sometimes Fazli.”
Differences are high amid reports regarding the establishment of Supreme State Council (SSC) with higher authorities.
Some political leaders like Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) Leader GulbuddinHekmatyar said that SSC should have executive powers and its membership should be limited, but National Security Advisor HamdullahMohib said that SSC will not interfere in government affairs and the role of its members will be influential in peace related affairs.
Former President Hamid Karzai said the peace process could become successful if handed over to Afghans.
People want ceasefire:
Mohammad Asif, a tribal elder from Laghman province, told a peace gathering: “Only the people of Afghanistan felt victims for this conflict but other nations reaped the benefits. The Taliban should reconcile and pave the way for talks.”
Maulvi Hamdullah Abdali, a religious scholar, in a separate gathering in Uruzgan province said: “How many more Afghans do you plan to kill and how many more families do you want to breveade.”
He termed peace a divine order and added every Muslim should show compliance to this order.
In Baghlan province, a peace poetry gathering was organized in which particpants through their poems convyed the message of peace, peace reconciliation and urged conflicting aprties to reconcile.