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HomeEditorialThe bloodthirsty Afghanistan conflict has killed thousands of people

The bloodthirsty Afghanistan conflict has killed thousands of people

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aghanistan, afghanistan, afghan, war, conflict, taliban, war zone
A woman observes the scene of an attack a day after a car bomb went off in Herat, Afghanistan on March 13, 2021. | Image: IC

India has safely evacuated its citizens, and Pakistan got a warning to dislodge terror entities from their border. Almost all the neighbouring countries are stressed. Continues 20 years of war is yet to settle, foreign forces are pulling out of Afghanistan following a deal between the US and the Taliban militants they removed from power back in 2001. The clash has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.

India had a month back pulled out around 50 diplomats and security personnel from its consulate in Kandahar as the security situation deteriorated and the Taliban gained control of new areas around the southern Afghan city.

Back in 2001, the US was responding to the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, in which nearly 3,000 people were killed. Officials identified Islamist militant group al-Qaeda, and its leader Osama Bin Laden, as accountable. Bin Laden was in Afghanistan, under the protection of the Taliban, the Islamists who had been in power since 1996. When they refused to hand him over, the US intervened militarily, quickly removing the Taliban and vowing to support democracy and eliminate the terrorist threat.

The Taliban swear not to allow Afghanistan to become a base for terrorists who could threaten the West. But its hard-line past monarchs has swiftly gained territory in recent weeks from Afghan army soldiers, who are now being left to protect a fragile government. The Taliban also made a pledge for national peace talks, but many fear a worsening civil war remains a far more likely outcome.

Afghanistan continues to allege that Islamabad is aiding Taliban terrorists and is also sending thousands of terrorists to the country to destabilise the government. Pakistan continues to deny any such role while highlighting that it is due to Islamabad’s efforts Taliban has sat down with the US and Afghanistan to talk peace and stability.

Despite being on the peace committee, where the US and the Afghanistan government are stakeholders, the terrorist group has used violence to stamp its authority and take control of vast regions of Afghanistan. The US and Nato to withdraw all their troops by August 31. The US, however, has not made any changes to its troop withdrawal plans which has provided a fillip to the Taliban which is advancing at a fast pace and has captured several major cities and provinces in the conflict-ridden nation. The US feels that Pakistan is safe for these Talibanis are they are causing uncertainty and instability in the conflict-ridden nation.

As per Britannica mention, the Afghan War, in the history of Afghanistan, the internal conflict that began in 1978 between anti-communist Islamic guerrillas and the Afghan communist government (aided in 1979–89 by Soviet troops), leading to the overthrow of the government in 1992. More broadly, the term also encompasses military activity within Afghanistan after 1992—but apart from the Afghanistan War (2001–14), a U.S.-led invasion launched in response to the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001. By this broader definition, many analysts consider the internal Afghan War as lasting well into the 21st century and overlapping with the U.S.-led Afghanistan War.

The roots of the war lay in the overthrow of the centrist government of President Mohammad Daud Khan in April 1978 by left-wing military officers led by Nur Mohammad Taraki. Power was thereafter shared by two Marxist-Leninist political groups, the People’s (Khalq) Party and the Banner (Parcham) Party, which had earlier emerged from a single organization, the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan, and had reunited in an uneasy coalition shortly before the coup. The new government, which had little popular support, forged close ties with the Soviet Union, launched ruthless purges of all domestic opposition, and began extensive land and social reforms that were bitterly resented by the devoutly Muslim and largely anti-communist population.

Insurgencies arose against the government among both tribal and urban groups, and all of these—known collectively as the mujahideen (Arabic: mujāhidūn, “those who engage in jihad”)—were Islamic in orientation. These uprisings, along with internal fighting and coups within the government between the People’s and Banner factions prompted the Soviets to invade the country in December 1979, sending in some 30,000 troops and toppling the short-lived presidency of People’s leader Hafizullah Amin.

 The aim of the Soviet operation was to prop up their new but faltering client state, now headed by Banner leader Babrak Karmal, but the mujahideen rebellion grew in response, spreading to all parts of the country. The Soviets initially left the repression of the rebellion to the Afghan army, but the latter was overwhelmed by mass desertions and remained largely ineffective throughout the war.

Afghanistan has never conducted a full census, and it is thus difficult to gauge the number of casualties suffered in the country since the outbreak of fighting. The best estimates available indicate that some 1.5 million Afghanis were killed before 1992—although the number killed during combat and the number killed as an indirect result of the conflict remain unclear. The casualty rate after 1992 is even less precise. Many thousands were killed as a direct result of factional fighting; hundreds or thousands of prisoners and civilians were executed by tribal, ethnic, or religious rivals; and a large number of combatants—and some non-combatants—were killed during the U.S. offensive. Moreover, tens of thousands died of starvation or of a variety of diseases, many of which in less-troubled times could have been easily treated, and hundreds of thousands were killed or injured by the numerous land mines in the country. (Afghanistan was, by the end of the 20th century, one of the most heavily mined countries in the world, and vast quantities of unexploded ordnance littered the countryside.) The number of Afghan refugees living abroad fluctuated over the years with the fighting and reached a peak of some six million people in the late 1980s.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for past 16 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazine Beyond The News, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs. Besides journalism, she is also an Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author.
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