Kunduz tragedy: The need to stop its repeat

Wednesday, 04 April 2018 03:25 Written by  Read 90 times

Tens of people, including civilians, suffered casualties when an airstrike targeted a gathering in northern Kunduz province. The attack reportedly carried out by Afghan Air Force (AAF) has targeted a religious school in Dasht-e- Archi district, where a graduation ceremony was underway. In addition to Taliban fighters, some civilians including children were also reportedly among the fatalities.
Civilian casualties continue unabated despite promises by the warring sides to protect civilian lives. Ordinary Afghans, who have received no mercy from both the corruption-riddled government and the ruthless Taliban, are losing their precious lives every day. They are massacred sometimes in Taliban suicide bombings in crowed areas, and sometimes in airstrikes conducted by Afghan and American forces on their public gatherings. No side really has any regard for civilian lives. Almost in all instances, civilians often suffer preventable causalities. Kunduz tragedy is also no exception. Even if the government’s claim about the presence of senior Taliban members at the gathering is true, the attack is not justifiable, because it has also caused casualties to civilians, especially children who legally bear no responsibility.
The government may try to characterize the slain or wounded Taliban members as important leaders in a bid to justify the strike, yet it cannot find defensible grounds for it. Afghan war will not end with the killing of Taliban leaders. Had that been the case, Afghanistan would have already achieved peace and stability. The Taliban leaders are not the cadre the group will struggle to replace; it is rather very easy for them to find their successors.
Such raids would strengthen rather than weaken the Taliban, which is the very thing the enemies of Afghanistan are looking for. They can kill one or two Taliban commanders, but the entire families of civilian victims would swing into action to seek revenge. That way, the Afghan government would lose more with the hope to gain something. The ongoing war is not that new that the government leaders are unaware of the consequences of such incidents. They should have now realized that civilian casualties in government-backed operations are a major driver of the lingering conflict. For their part, the Taliban who often claim to be the real representatives of Afghan people and are a party to the conflict should advise their fighters to stay away from such public gatherings so that they will not pose any threat to civilian lives.

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