Afghanistan in a terrible spot over security - GulfToday

Afghanistan in a terrible spot over security


A minivan carrying civilian passengers in northwest Afghanistan was hit by a roadside bomb, leaving at least 11 passengers dead.

In Afghanistan, death always stalks the common man, either while he is walking the streets or travelling.  Either he gets killed by a bomb, or the coronavirus kills him. The upcoming departure of American troops from Afghanistan has only heightened the feeling of insecurity.

A minivan carrying civilian passengers in northwest Afghanistan was hit by a roadside bomb, leaving at least 11 passengers dead, including three children, an Afghan official said on Sunday.

The minivan fell into a valley with the shock of the explosion on Saturday.

At least eight people were killed and nine others wounded on Thursday in two bomb blasts targeting minibuses in Kabul, according to police. Three bombs rattled the Afghan capital Kabul late on Tuesday killing at least 10 people and plunging the city into darkness, an Afghan government spokesman said.

Large swathes of war-ravaged Afghanistan are littered with bombs and landmines. Many were planted by insurgents to target government military convoys, but they often kill civilians instead.

The United Nations has repeatedly demanded both government forces and the Taliban take more precautions to protect civilians. In the first three months of this year, the UN mission in Afghanistan said that 1,783 civilians had been killed or wounded in Afghanistan, an increase of 29% over the same period last year.

In northern Faryab province, provincial officials said on Sunday the district of Qaisar had fallen to Taliban fighters after a weeks-long fight between the two sides.

Provincial council chief Mohammad Tahir Rahmani told The Associated Press that provincial police chief Saifulrahman was killed in the fighting along with seven other police officers.

What’s making things worse for the Afghans is a bad surge in coronavirus infections. This comes even as health officials plead for vaccines, only to be told by the World Health Organisation that the 3 million doses the country expected to receive by April won’t be delivered until August.

Also, most Afghans still question the reality of the virus or believe their faith will protect them and rarely wear masks or social distance, often mocking those who do. Until just a week ago, the government was allowing unrestricted mass gatherings.

At most only 3,000 tests a day are carried out, as Afghans resist testing, even after the country dramatically ramped up its capabilities to 25,000 a day. But it is rare to see anyone wearing a mask in the streets, and even where masks are mandatory, like in government offices, it’s rarely enforced.

For vaccines, Afghanistan so far has relied on a donation of AstraZeneca doses from India and then purchases of Sinopharm from China.

Last month, the ministry received a letter from WHO saying the expected shipment of 3 million vaccine doses will not arrive until August due to supply problems.

With just 35,000 vaccine doses remaining in the country, the authorities were forced to stop giving first jabs to use remaining supplies to give second jabs, he said. Doctors struggle with the public’s refusal to take precautions and follow safety protocol. “Our people believe it is fake, especially in the countryside,” Rishteen said. “Or they are religious and believe God will save them.”

Since United States struck a deal with the Taliban in February 2020, paving the way for America to end its longest war, there have been no US combat deaths, and there have been only isolated attacks on US  bases.

Instead, the Taliban intensified attacks on Afghan government forces, and civilian casualties have spiralled.

More than 3,000 Afghan civilians were killed and almost 5,800 were wounded in 2020, according to a United Nations report.   

Amid growing insecurity and targeted attacks on civilians and women, many officials and analysts fear hardline groups like Daesh could threaten years of gains in girls’ education.

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