End the anguish of Afghan people - GulfToday

End the anguish of Afghan people

Afghanistan

A wounded Afghan man receives treatment at the Wazir Akbar Khan hospital following a blast in Kabul. AFP

Militants have struck again in Afghanistan killing or wounding several innocent people and such cowardly, cruel acts should end.

The country has witnessed too much bloodshed and the worst affected have been civilians, including women, children and the elderly.

The international community should not anymore remain a passive spectator to threats issued by insurgents of more violence ahead of general elections.

A BBC investigation released on Monday claimed that 74 people were killed every day on average in August, with 611 incidents resulting in 2,307 deaths. The BBC findings show unrelenting violence affects almost the entire country as US negotiations to withdraw after 18 years of war are in disarray.

Such brutality is not acceptable and raises questions about collective human conscience when it comes to protecting innocent Afghan civilians.  As per UN officials, at least 3,812 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in the first half of 2019 in the war against militant groups, including a big increase in the number of casualties caused by government and foreign forces. The fighting has been forcing civilians to live under the constant threat of being targeted by militants or being caught up in ground fighting, or becoming inadvertent victims of air strikes by Afghan government and foreign forces.

The Afghan people have been yearning for peace for years, and that’s precisely what is being denied to them.  In a statement sent to media claiming responsibility for both blasts on Tuesday, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed that the attack near President Ashraf Ghani’s rally was deliberately aimed at disrupting the Sept.28 elections.

As in almost all other attacks, women and children were among the casualties in the latest violence. The UN’s mission in Afghanistan has rightly slammed the Taliban, accusing them of showing despicable disregard for civilian life and fundamental human right to participate in democratic process.

The elections will see Ghani face off against his own Chief Executive, Abdullah Abdullah, and more than a dozen other candidates.

For weeks, the election had been sidelined by the US-Taliban talks, with many Afghans and observers expecting the vote to be cancelled if a deal was agreed. Even candidates did little in the way of campaigning.

But with the deal off, Ghani and his rivals have begun the race. Until now, the Taliban have refused to talk to the Afghan administration of President Ghani. It is impossible to comprehend complete peace without intra-Afghan talks taking place.

The long Afghan conflict can only be resolved by direct talks between its own people, the chief of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) had informed the UN Security Council recently, underscoring that they must be inclusive and represent the whole spectrum of Afghan society.

The events of recent days and weeks have shown, more than ever, the urgency of finding a political settlement to the long Afghan conflict, Special Representative Tadamichi Yamamoto stated.  Afghanistan recently commemorated its 100th anniversary of independence, which was tragically marred by further terrorist attacks.

An escalation of violence and heinous terrorist acts against Afghan civilians and their families are not acceptable. Full cessation of violence and lasting peace are what Afghan people aspire for.

A generation of Afghan children has witnessed nothing but violence, and instead of studying at schools and playing in the gardens, most of them have been forced to endure unthinkable misery.

The use of terrorism as a means to achieve goals must be confronted by all civilised nations.