Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

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Intensifying Violence Dulls Afghans’ Hopes for Peace

AAN < 1 min

International Crisis Group, 5 July 2019

In this commentary, ICG analyst and former AAN colleague Borhan Osman revisits “war-torn districts of rural Afghanistan” in Wardak, Ghazni, and Paktika provinces where he had travelled in June this year, over the Eid al-Fitr holidays, as he did the previous year. He was told about a “dramatic worsening of violence (…) caused by a stepped-up campaign of airstrikes and night raids by U.S. and Afghan government forces,” a side of the war hat is often overshadowed and underreported by Taleban atrocities. The 2018 Eid ceasefire, he reports, “was a distant memory” now. “The nine months that followed the 2018 ceasefire brought a record-breaking 5,914 airstrikes to Afghanistan, more than a 50 per cent increase from the same period a year earlier [and] shattered the relative peace that had existed for years in some Taliban-held territories.”

Importantly, he also shakes the view about a de-link between the Taleban’s political set-up and the frontline commanders: “The Taliban’s envoys in Doha share regular updates with senior field commanders, and consult with them on political strategy. Those practices give the fighters some sense of the political game and that diplomacy might be worth trying.”