The future of the Islamic republic has turned out to be among the world’s major foreign policy problems.
In Afghanistan in the background the exit of a foreign military contingent The Taliban terrorist organization is stepping up its onslaught on government forces. The level of violence against civilians has grown unprecedentedly, almost half of the killed and wounded are women and children, the UN reports. Correspondent.net tells the details.
The greatest losses among ordinary citizens
The number of civilian casualties and casualties in Afghanistan reached a record high in the first half of 2021, it says in the report of the UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan, published on July 26. The sharp increase in violence occurred in May against the background of the withdrawal of foreign forces from the country after the US decision to end the operation in that country.
The situation could worsen, the UN warned. Even without a “significant de-escalation of violence”, the situation in Afghanistan will lead to the country having the highest number of documented civilian casualties in a year in 2021, the report’s authors warn.
According to the UN, 1,659 civilians died in Afghanistan in the first six months of 2021. 3,524 people were injured. This is 47 percent more compared to the same period in 2020. From May to June alone, 783 people were killed and another 1609 injured. This is the highest figure in similar months.
“Particularly shocking,” the report says, is the fact that nearly half of the victims are women and children. In six months, 468 children and 219 women were killed, 1214 children and 508 women were injured.
The main causes of death were explosive devices, ground operations and targeted killings. The UN report indicates that two-thirds of the killings were committed by the Taliban and other terrorist organizations, and 25 percent by the government army. It was not possible to determine who is responsible for the deaths of the rest of the civilians.
Both sides deny the UN report. The Afghan government indicates that the armed forces have left many areas to avoid civilian casualties. The Taliban are committed to human rights.
It is worth noting that the most violent clashes between radicals and Afghan forces occur in areas with a relatively low population density. The UN fears that if the fighting moves to urban areas, the consequences for civilians will be catastrophic.
What the Taliban are seeking
Almost daily movement Taliban reports taking over new territories in Afghanistan under your control. The UN previously noted that a terrorist organization took control of the largest number of territories in the past 20 years.
From 1996 to 2001, when the Taliban controlled most of Afghanistan, strict laws were established in the country: for theft, for example, they were punished by chopping off an arm or leg, girls were forbidden to go to school, and women were prohibited from working, wearing jeans and other “unconventional” clothes were not allowed.
The Taliban are trying to calm everyone down and reassure everyone that they have changed, become more pragmatic and learned a lot in the 20 years they were out of power. However, in the conquered provinces, they introduce an extreme version of Sharia. Sources of human rights defenders on the ground report the terrorists’ ill-treatment of civilians.
In Kandahar province, militants are taking relatives of government officials hostage. The human rights organization Human Rights Watch said that if the army launched a counterattack, the Taliban could start massacring civilians.
“Taliban leaders deny responsibility for rights violations, but there are more and more reports of expulsions, arbitrary detentions and killings in the areas they control,” emphasize HRW.
After the start of the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, which officially began on May 1, the Taliban launched several large-scale attacks, including on Kabul, Kandahar, Mazar-i-Sharif.
They could not capture these cities, but they claim that today they already control 90 percent of Afghanistan’s border and 80 percent of its territory. The government in Kabul called these claims false.
According to independent estimates, extremists control about half of the territory and a number of important border crossings on the borders with Iran, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.
Curfews have been imposed in 31 of 33 provinces to stem the rise in violence and thwart Taliban night travel, the Afghan Interior Ministry said late last week.
On July 24, the Afghan army announced that it had removed the head of the Taliban’s “shadow” administration. A few days later, the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces reported the arrest of several movement commanders.
How the US is trying to resolve the situation
The situation in Afghanistan has escalated after the United States, which has been there on a military mission since 2001, withdrew most of its contingent. In early July, in particular, the military left the Bagram airfield, which was the main base of the coalition forces.
As a result of clashes between terrorists and government troops on the territory of neighboring Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, not only refugees, but also retreating Afghan government troops and militants began to massively penetrate.
Even before the withdrawal of troops began, experts warned that without a foreign military contingent Afghanistan will become a springboard for terrorists, and the country itself will be mired in a civil war.
According to US intelligence released last week, the Afghan government could fall in just six months.
Kabul is now rethinking its military strategy against the Taliban, planning to pull troops sprawled across the country into critical infrastructure and large cities.
The plan of the Afghan government will inevitably lead to the fact that part of the country’s territory will go under the control of the Taliban, according to intelligence. According to the Pentagon, more than half of the regional centers of Afghanistan have already been captured by the Taliban.
Against the backdrop of the Taliban offensive, the United States is mobilizing both Western and Eastern allies to support the Afghan government and prevent the Taliban from seizing power in Kabul.
The main stake in the region, the United States is making on India, for which the return of the Taliban, sponsored by the hostile Pakistan, poses the greatest threat. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will be on an official visit to India this week.
“We proceed from the fact that it is in the interests of all countries in the region for Afghanistan to be stable and secure. Therefore, we will work with our Indian partners to achieve this goal,” the State Department said on the eve of Blinken’s visit to Delhi.
Washington called India a key US partner in the region and welcomed the efforts of the Indian side to resolve the Afghan crisis.
After the overthrow of the Taliban regime in 2001, Delhi spent three billion dollars to support Kabul – an order of magnitude less than the United States, but more than any other neighboring state. This is due to the fact that India has the greatest motivation to prevent the Taliban from coming to power in Kabul, given that there is a hostile Pakistan behind them.
On the eve of Anthony Blinken’s visit, the Indian side received yet another signal indicating that the dynamics of the situation in Afghanistan requires more and more decisive action from it.
Afghan broadcaster RTA has released footage of the movement of Pakistani troops in the Afghan border province of Kandahar, which is currently controlled by the Taliban.
Indian sources view Pakistan’s actions in the border regions of Afghanistan as evidence of the increasingly active and already overt support of the Taliban from their main sponsor, Pakistan, which will become the main beneficiary in the event of the fall of the regime in Kabul.
In this situation, Blinken warned that the Taliban should be aware that in the event of a forceful overthrow of the government in Kabul, “the cost of the issue will be very high for them.”
On July 24, US President Joe Biden held a telephone conversation with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, in which he reaffirmed US readiness to continue to support the Afghan security forces.
The White House said the FY2022 Congressional Budget Request for the Afghan Security Forces Fund is proposing $ 3.3 billion. In addition, 100 million is allocated for the evacuation from Afghanistan of the citizens of this country, who provided various assistance to the American troops.
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