Afghanistan struggles for peace amid surge in violence

The UN flag flies at half-mast after the attack of UN personnel in Kabul, Afghanistan, in January 2014. The UN flag flies at half-mast after the attack of UN personnel in Kabul, Afghanistan, in January 2014. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

08 November 2020

Recent weeks have seen a surge in violence across Afghanistan, as Afghan and Iranian diplomats intensify peace efforts

Violence and chaos have intensified in Afghanistan in recent months, with attacks in urban centres and targeted killings on the rise. Perhaps the most widely reported was the horrific attack of 2 November on Kabul University, where at least 20 people were killed. Almost ten more were killed in attacks in Herat and Kunduz Province the day before. On Saturday 7 November, the media reported the explosion of a bomb attached to the vehicle of former TV presenter and journalist Yama Siawash, which caused three casualties. Multiple other attacks followed, in the provinces of Baghlan and Ghazni, taking this week’s tally up to over 40 dead and many more injured. Daesh terrorist group claimed responsibility for the two attacks on the educational institutions. The Taliban denied any involvement.

The rising levels of violence have erupted at a time when the Taliban and the Afghan government are making efforts to find an end to over four decades of unabating war and create the conditions for peace. The negotiations were part of the peace process initiated in February this year by the United States (US)-Taliban agreement and the US-Afghanistan Joint Declaration, aimed at reaching stability in Afghanistan.

Progress in the talks has been slow, with little impact on reducing the bloodshed, and the recent terrorist attacks have undermined confidence in the peace process, also due to the Taliban being accused of orchestrating the violence after almost every attack. Iran and Afghanistan have intensified their efforts to put an end to the violence, with Germany also expressing concerns over the spread of insecurity in the region and cooperating towards a durable political resolution to the conflict.

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Author: Giulia Ferrara

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