Anger in Afghanistan

Apr 25, 2017
It has been a long and agonising weekend for the people of Afghanistan as they continued to grapple with the grief of losing at least 130 soldiers in Friday’s deadly assault on a military base in the northern province of Balkh. The latest Taliban attack has again shown the vulnerability of the Afghan forces to sustained and coordinated action by the insurgents. The Taliban have become bolder and more aggressive and Afghan troops have not been able to beat off the challenge. This has understandably raised a lot of concern. Suspicion has begun to fall on insiders who may have aided and guided the assault in Balkh. But this is probably only a tactic to deflect attention away from the huge security failure at the base. The fact that the raid on the base was undertaken by 10 young training recruits would otherwise seem embarrassing for the Afghan forces.
Even as some of the grief recedes, anger is welling up deep within the ranks of the Afghans. There have been heated calls for ministers and top army commanders to resign and accept responsibility for their inaction. Both the defence minister, Abdullah Habibi, and the commander of the 209th Corps stationed at the base have been roundly condemned for not dealing a blow to the insurgents. Previous security lapses and negligence has resulted in the sacking of 12 army officers, including two generals.
Even before US-led Nato troops ended their combat mission in December 2014, Afghan security forces have struggled to tame the Taliban and neutralize the ferocity of its attacks. Military casualties rose by 35 per cent last year when 6,800 soldiers and policemen were killed.
Kabul has to bolster its defence forces in all provinces if it wants to counter acts of terror and enlist the help of Pakistan which has already offered assistance on this count.
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Express Tribune, April 25, 2017

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