Husnaa Bayat |Pic: rferl.org | 08 June 2017
Kabul, Afghanistan. Chaos reigned as the city erupted in a series of explosions at the start of the holy month. On the 1st of Ramadan, during morning rush hour a bomb exploded in at busy marketplace just outside the diplomatic enclave. 150 people were left dead.
The Taliban have denied responsibility for the attack. But if not them, then who exactly is behind these horrendous acts that seemingly targets innocent civilians?
Rahimullah Yusufzhai, a seasoned journalist and editor of News International in Peshawar, explained to Salaamedia the broader issues surrounding these attacks.
According to Yusufzhai, an unidentified suicide bomber driving a tanker truck tried to enter a diplomatic area, which houses foreign embassies, the residences of government officials, and even NATO forces. He had passed three checkpoints without raising suspicion until he was stopped by police near the entrance when the bomb exploded.
Another suicide bomb attack occurred the next day during demonstrations against the government, claiming a further 6 lives. Two more bombings occurred the next day at the funeral of one of the demonstrators, who is the son of the deputy chairman of senate. The people of Afghanistan are demanding new elections and the resignation of the current government, whose incompetence is seen as another reason for the reoccurrence of these attacks.
Yusufzhai alluded to Taliban involvement in these bombings as he claimed that they have infiltrated the Afghan police, army and government offices which provided an explanation for the truck driver’s possession of diplomatic documents that allowed him to slip undetected through three checkpoints.
The Taliban’s foremost demand has been for foreigners to leave the country. At present there are approximately 40 000 foreign fighters, heavily equipped with drones, jet fighters, and helicopters, according to Yusufzhai. There are 8400 American posts in Afghanistan & 6000 soldiers of other NATO members. Nearly 26 000 are private contractors, or so-called mercenaries, from foreign countries have been hired to protect American bases, and are unofficially in Afghanistan. The Taliban has refused to negotiate with the Afghan government who they believe are powerless, while they are in negotiations with the US, who they believe are key players in Afghanistan’s affairs.
In order to offer a better perspective of Taliban’s networks, Yusufzhai explained that they have many divisions across the provinces and the leaders of these divisions have been given autonomy to carry out attacks.
The Haqqani network is another powerful active independent group who have been operating since the Afghan jihad against Soviet forces, but some of their attacks have been linked with the Taliban. The Haqqani network’s link with Taliban was officiated in the appointment of a Haqqani leader as one of two Taliban deputies. Some of the Taliban and Haqqani leaders are operating from Pakistan, while others are in Iran as Iran has been supporting the Taliban in recent years according to Yusufzahai
He predicted that the fighting will only increase with summer as the Taliban spring and summer offensive is already underway, and there appears to be no peace process moving forward.