IPRI – Islamabad Policy Research Institute

Focusing On the Last Attack in Kabul – An Endless Civil War Part II

The Afghan intelligence services, Amaniyat, spoke just hours after the last bombing in Kabul on Wednesday, May 31st, to give their own version of the facts. They did not hide from the media that they were aware that a major attack was going to take place in the capital. A source went so far as to affirm to the American newspaper Foreign Policy that the district that was to be targeted by the attack had been known since May 21 at least.

Though a scanty information, but Services knew that an attack was very likely in Kabul, they knew the area in which terrorists were going to strike, but still could not stop this happening. This raises questions, at least, about the level of authority being exercised in the Capital.

In addition, the Afghan services have rejected Daesh’s involvement and accuse the Haqqani network of being responsible for the attack. It is one of the main components of the Taliban rebellion, which has been responsible in recent years for spectacular terrorist attacks.

Reject Any Dialogue with the Rebellion

But to say that the Haqqani network is responsible because it has made similar attacks in the past, is like jumping on to the conclusion without analysis. The idea is not absurd, but it is unverifiable. And the information was provided just hours after the attack itself. One can ask questions about the version proposed by the Afghan intelligence services, and now adopted by the government of Kabul.

Without knowing who is truly responsible for the attack, it is possible to analyze much more clearly what the blame on the Haqqani network means. Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the network bearing his name, is also the military leader of all the Taliban. So the position of the Afghan intelligence services leads to reject any dialogue with the rebellion. A dialogue that is accepted as inevitable in order to achieve peace, be it at the Afghan level or in the regional environment of the country.

Today, Iran, Pakistan, China, and Russia (also representing the security interests of the countries of Central Asia) have all accepted, following the outcome of actions of the Obama administration, that solving the Afghan problem by military force alone is impossible. But with such an accusation, at least for a while, any idea of dialogue is impossible.

Last Thursday, President Ashraf Ghani even sentenced 11 Taliban prisoners to death in retaliation. And of course, the Taliban responded by promising retaliation in Kabul. The vicious circle of violence continues to fuel an Afghan civil war that has now existed for almost four decades.

Pakistan, a Scapegoat

The blaming of the Haqqani network, which has presence on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border, also allows Kabul to once again directly accuse Pakistan. Islamabad is thus associated, without tangible proof, with a terrible massacre that plagues Afghanistan.

This can serve some in Kabul, politically. Accusing a foreign country means that corruption, poor governance and the deplorable state of the Afghan security forces are not reflected in Kabul’s failure to bring security to Afghan citizens.

And very often, Pakistan is used as a scapegoat for all Afghan problems, as well as the American inability to bring peace to this country.

But the price to pay is high over the longer term: Pakistan has also suffered, humanly and economically, from terrorism. Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria rightly pointed out that with his own counter-terrorist struggle, his country had a strong interest in the stability of Afghanistan.

Of course, from Islamabad’s point of view, being taken again as a scapegoat is seen as further evidence of New Delhi’s influence on Kabul, making these two capitals de facto allies seeking to destabilize Pakistan. And with this perception in many minds at the highest level in the Pakistan, how can anyone hope to see any effort made to help the Afghans find peace?


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