September less deadly: 1065 killed, 727 wounded
KABUL (Pajhwok): Nearly 2,000 people were killed and wounded across the country in September, a 25 percent decline in violence and a 35 percent cut in causalities from August.
According to Pajhwok reports based on different sources, 143 clashes and attacks took place in September in 27 provinces of the country.
One in every two casualties resulted from direct clashes between the warring parties, one in four fatalities from airstrikes, one in nine deaths from suicide attacks and the remaining in different incidents.
Half of the attacks happened in Nangarhar, Faryab, Helmand, Kandahar, Kabul and Logar, with the rest occurring in 21 other provinces. However, Pajhwok did not receive security-related reports from Balkh, Daikundi, Bamyan, Ghor, Panjsher, Samangan and Badghis provinces.
Nangarhar experienced the highest concentration of attacks (21). Only one security incident took place in Nuristan. Half of the incidents were constituted by face-to-face clashes between security forces and Taliban and Daesh militants.
The remaining 50 percent of incidents included 32 armed attacks, 18 airstrikes, 13 roadside bombings, three suicide attacks and the rest magnetic, bicycle, motorcycle and other explosions in different places.
Security forces, civilians and militants were among the 1,065 people killed and 727 wounded but Pajhwok Afghan News did not track the background of those targeted due to lack of available information.
Most of the casualties happened in Uruzgan province, followed by Ghazni, Nangarhar and Kabul.
A retired military general, Zalmai Wardak said that operations led by Afghan forces were the reason that caused fewer casualties despite many incidents happening daily in Nangarhar province. The militants fight the Afghan forces, but they did not show continued resistance.
Casualties usually rise when the militants collectively attack an area, but such attacks could not be seen in Nangarhar province, he added.
About high number of casualties in Uruzgan where the number of security incidents is low, Wardak said that most of operations and attacks in Uruzgan were carried out collectively by Taliban militants that caused high number of casualties.
Calls for peace:
People who lost their loved ones to the ongoing conflict want the warring parties to shun violence and resolve their differences through dialogue.
Abdul Ahad, resident of the Maiwand district of southern Kandahar province, lost one cousin to a roadside explosion, which injured two others. He says most families in Kandahar have lost relatives to the ongoing war.
Ahad urges militants to renounce violence or strop planting bombs on roadside that usually claim innocent lives.
He is not happy over the fall in incidents violence, saying his experience shows that the war tends to intensify after a brief lull.
Zabihullah, whose brother was wounded in Pul-i-Khumri, the capital of northern Baghlan province, holds a similar view. “My brother (Hikmatullah) is a student of 12the class. He sustained injures as a result of a clash on his way home from school. His leg is seriously wounded and he will have a difficult future.” He wants the combatants to renounce violence and join the peace process.
Gen. Zalmai Wardak, a defence analyst, also urged parties to the conflict to resolve their differences through negotiations.
“Unfortunately, the conflict continues in Afghanistan. Rise and fall in incidents of violence is part of the war and it happens at a time when a party tries to equip itself or shuffle its plans.”
For durable peace and stability, he said, it was necessary that political differences within the government were resolved and reforms introduced so that rule of law could be ensured and at least a short-term security policy implemented.
The Afghan forces are equipped with all needed equipments and ammunitions, but they are weak due to poor management of their operations, Wardak said.
President Ashraf Ghani was prepared for peace talks as he had practically states it during meetings with Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) representatives. But the Taliban never responded in a positive manner.
HIA, headed by Gulbadin Hekmatyar, had been fighting against foreign forces over the past 15 years, but the group struck a peace deal with the Afghan government recently. The pact widely endorsed and appreciated.
Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Dawlat Waziri said the government was committed to introducing social reforms, eradicating corruption and ensuring rule of law in the country.
About decline in incidents of violence, he said the ministry had monthly plans for military operation. He said militants increased their attacks in summer and during fall and winter it went down.
He said the defence ministry had chalked out a five-year plan build the Afghan National Army (ANA) capabilities. The strategy has been approved by the National Security Council.
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