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Terrorism and Emergence of Daesh in Afghanistan

By Khalid Umer

Terrorism is becoming the top agenda and common issue amongst most of the world countries. The unprecedented spread of terrorist operations across the world by the so called Islamist fundamentalist groups such as the, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, ISIS, Al- Shabab and Al-Nusra Front etc has turned into a global threat during recent years. The authoritative countries in Europe, Asia and Africa, as well as the United States only came to comprehend this issue after such groups extended the reach of their extremism and recruitment of members to the borders of the Western countries. There is no doubt that the strengthening of the Islamist terrorist groups has not taken place all of a sudden and they did not simply descend on our Planet overnight, could provide a relative answer to this riddle and shed light on the cause of the close relationship that exists between terrorist fundamentalism, and certain geopolitical goals pursued by world powers.

It is a harsh reality that at some junctures, existence of common interests and political convergence between the two sides has served to justify this apparently paradoxical binary. Absence of clear demarcation between popular uprisings and democracy seeking movements in such regions as the Middle East and the Horn of Africa, and the alternative role played by terrorist groups, enabled them to take advantage of these countries as fertile grounds for their growth. Experts believe that the most strategic mistake made in the field of regional geopolitics, which enabled terrorist groups to take advantage of these countries as breeding grounds, was the support of international power hegemony for violent developments in countries like Libya, Syria and Iraq, which aimed to bring down those governments that were not in line with international hegemony. Now, the untoward consequences of blunders are currently evident in the form of the current revolting image of regional conditions.

Terrorism knows no borders and it could emerge in any suitable grounds having the potential of support and growth. The menace of terrorism under the banner of Daesh or ISIS is also emerging in Afghanistan and has started to recruit and fight its opposition which is currently the Taliban of Afghanistan. Afghanistan has promptly acted and an anti Daesh force has been established to tackle the increasing foothold of Daesh. Probably the quick establishment of such force could be used to enticing the US/NATO to halt the withdrawal of the troops from Afghanistan and ensuring the long term financial and material aid for Afghanistan. Based on the annual report of the US Department of State on global terrorism, the frequency of terrorist attacks increased 32 percent year-on-year in 2014 and the number of casualties resulting from it has risen 81 percent due to a surge of terrorist attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

In another security report based on Afghan government issued figures and statements occurring during the first six months of 2015, suggests that the Afghan forces have faced mounting challenges over the past six months, following the NATO forces’ drawdown in December last year. A visible change in war tactics by armed insurgents has been recorded following the take over of full responsibility of security by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Reportedly ,about 5,363 insecurity incidents occurred between January and end June, the report stated that insurgents have, in this period, focused more on group attacks, which in most cases, resulted in the collapse of several districts. In June alone, it has recorded 1,068 incidents, which was according to the report, the only month this year that saw a slight decline in insecurity incidents compared to May which experienced 1,096 occurrences. The Afghan forces conducted 2,719 anti-insurgent operations during the past six months. In addition, the Afghan forces also launched 107 air strikes on insurgent hideouts.

Helmand province of Afghanistan topped the list of most unsafe provinces with 448 insecurity incidents, followed by Kandahar, Nangarhar, Herat, Kunduz, Uruzgan, Faryab, Ghazni, Sar-e-Pul and Kabul. Bamiyan with seven and Panjshir with only two incidents were among the safe provinces.

The report also compiled about 563 attacks by the insurgents, 341 incidents of mine explosions and bombings and 60 suicide attacks, in the past six months. A total of 14,597 insurgents including foreign militants were reportedly killed during the period. About 1,485 ANSF members, 917 civilians and four foreign soldiers were also killed in these attacks. In addition, rise of fast-growing Daesh militants was the other major threat to the Afghan government. Daesh fighters have been sighted in a number of areas in Afghanistan, causing panic among the war hit Afghans. However, there is a dire need that threat perception of Daesh must be grasped by both the countries before it is too late to tackle. Afghanistan must realize that the peace and prosperity in Afghanistan and Pakistan could ensure the same for the region and beyond. Hence, Afghanistan and Pakistan must augment each others efforts to check and control the terrorism in respective domain instead of entangling into the ill intended orchestrated issues which could lead to an unending journey of insecurity and instability in the region.

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