Afghanistan: Election in a State of War

For more than a decade, Afghanistan has been occupied by UN allied forces scheduled for total withdrawal this year.  Most of the remaining troops are Americans and military families at home are crushed by an endless war they don’t fully understand..

Moreover, they want their sons and daughters back and are not motivated to support further delay. 

President Karzai explained recently, he: “did not need U.S. troops or any other foreign troops to remain in Afghanistan once the NATO combat mission ends in December, since the Afghan military already protects 93 percent of the country and is ready to take over entirely.” (RFE/RLTOLO News).

"Afghan President Hamid Karzai, center, arrives at an opening session at the parliament house in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, March 15, 2014. Karzai said the last 12 years of war were "imposed" on Afghans, a reference to the U.S.-led invasion that ousted the Taliban." (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
“Afghan President Hamid Karzai, center, arrives at an opening session at the parliament house in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, March 15, 2014. Karzai said the last 12 years of war were “imposed” on Afghans, a reference to the U.S.-led invasion that ousted the Taliban.” (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

However, Washington’s understanding of “protection”  diverges from Karzai assessment of  the situation. Few days ago, an explosion in the Serena high security hotel, known as a peaceful refuge by journalists and Officials, reminded everyone that Afghanistan is not a safe haven.  This attack took the life of Sardar Ahmad,  senior reporter for Agence France-Presse his wife, and two of their three children.  It happened shortly after the police in Kabul, on the eve of the new solar year celebrations declared that “tight security measures had been put in place to mark the Nawroz festival festivities” .

Deadly assault by suicide insurgents at Kabul Serena Hotel.                  Photo Stian Lysberg / AFP / Getty

Back in January, a suicide bomber killed 21 people, mainly Occidentals, in a popular  Lebanese restaurant of the Afghan capital —a wake-up call for the International Community. These two attacks targeting foreigners were interpreted as a return of the Taliban; though weekly suicide bombings affecting Afghan civilians, women and children show that if Taliban ever left, it was for two years at the beginning of the allies operation.  Since then, random and regular terrorist attacks  are daily routine. Recently, the traditional line between the general population, and “protected” foreigners, journalists, officials mixed with Afghan elite, is blurred to inexistence. The Taliban wants their action to be noticed,  while Karzai regularly accused Pakistan Intel of destabilizing his country, preventing him from seeking a peace agreement with the insurgents.

Kabul, suicide bombing against foreigners at a popular Lebanese restaurant.
Kabul, suicide bombing against foreigners at a popular Lebanese restaurant.

Far from this Afghan reality, in Washington, many believe that leaving Afghanistan will guarantee the return of the Taliban. For Karzai, the  foreign inference didn’t prevent chaos, and an accumulation of missteps mainly in handling ambiguous Pakistan neighbor, brought his country back were it was before 2001.  With the Presidential election day on April 5th, security has become the number one priority and a test for Afghan law enforcement and military to show their readiness, despite undeniable violent provocations.

However, and for sometimes now, March 2014 in Afghanistan, looks like every month for the civilian Afghan population,  according to this list, made of headlines from Pajhwok Afghan News.

Fairness dictates, to compare with data on the number of successful operation performed by the Afghan Security forces.

  • GARDIZ (Pajhwok): Four campaigners of a provincial candidate were killed in a roadside bombing in southeastern Paktia province on Monday, 31,   an official said.
  • KUNDUZ CITY (Pajhwok): At least eight people were killed in a roadside bombing in northern Kunduz province on Monday afternoon, an official said…Monday, 31.
  • FAIZABAD/KANDAHAR: (Pajhwok) Nine people, mostly civilians, have been killed during separate incidents in northeastern Badakhshan and southern Kandahar provinces, officials said on Saturday, 22th.
  • JALALABAD: (Pajhwok) Targeted killings have dramatically increased over the past few months in eastern Nangarhar province, where 360 civilians lost their lives to such attacks in one district alone last solar year
  • Four foreigners and five Afghans have been killed in a suicide attack on a luxury hotel in the heart of Kabul, Interior Ministry officials said on Friday, 21th.
  • KABUL : (Pajhwok) Afghan journalist Sardar Ahmad was killed along with his spouse and two children in the overnight attack on a high-security hotel in Kabul, his relative said on Friday, March, 21th,
  • JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Eighteen people were killed and 22 others wounded during coordinated bomb attacks and shooting by the Taliban in the capital of eastern Nangarhar province on Thursday, 20th, officials said.
  •  MAIMANA: (Pajhwok) Seventeen people were killed and 48 others wounded when an explosives-laden vehicle was detonated in the middle of a crowd in the capital of northern Faryab province on Tuesday, 18th.
  • KABUL: (Pajhwok) At least 19 people were killed and 67 others wounded on Friday, 14th, during two separate explosions in capital cities of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, officials said.
  • LASHKARGAH : (Pajhwok) Six civilians, including two women and two children, died inside a car that struck a roadside bomb in southern Helmand province, an official said on Friday, 14th.
  •  LASHKARGAH: (Pajhwok) Thirteen people, including three civilians, were killed during separate incidents of violence in southern Helmand province on Thursday, police said. Thursday, 13th.
  • MAZAR-E-SHARIF: (Pajhwok) Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a local journalist in Mazar-e-Sharif, the provincial capital of northern Balkh province, leaving him critically wounded, Tuesday, 11th.
  • KABUL: (Pajhwok) A Swedish journalist was killed on Tuesday after unknown gunmen opened fire at him in the high-security zone of Wazir Akbar Khan diplomatic district in Kabul, the Swedish Embassy confirmed, and Afghan police said they had arrested two suspects.Tuesday, 11th.
  • LASHKARGAH: (Pajhwok) Five civilians were killed and nine others wounded on Friday when a bomb-rigged motorcycle ripped through a weekly bazaar in southern Helmand province, an official said. Friday, 7th.
  • LASHKARGAH: (Pajhwok) Two children were killed and three others sustained injuries when a rocket allegedly fired by Taliban insurgents hit a house in southern Helmand province, an official said on Thursday, 5th.
  • PUL-I-ALAM: (Pajhwok) Fourteen people, including women and children, were killed on Sunday when a car packed with explosives blew up inside a house in the provincial capital of central Logar province, an official said Sunday, 2sd
  • ISLAMABAD: (Pajhwok) A judge and at least 10 others were killed and 35 more wounded following a gun-and-suicide attack on a courtroom in the Pakistani capital on Monday, 3rd.
  • MAIMANA: (Pajhwok) Yet another campaigner for presidential candidate Dr. Abdullah Abdullah was killed in a bomb attack targeting a campaign convoy in northwestern Faryab province on Saturday, March, 1st.



UPDATE 04/4/2014  AP veteran photojournalist Anja Niedringhaus, was killed  and reporter Katy Gannon wounded by a ” gunman dressed as a police officer” in a remote town of southeastern Khost province, along the Pakistan border.  Her insightful testimonies remain. 





Recommended reading:

The Wrong Enemy-America in Afghanistan-2001-2014 by Carlotta  Gall