Dhaka, Bangladesh
Free fall: On the Afghan conflict

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Free fall: On the Afghan conflict

The suicide attack at a crowded wedding hall in Kabul on Saturday night that killed at least 63 people and injured more than 180 others is yet another tragic reminder of the perilous security situation in Afghanistan. The blast, claimed by the local arm of the Islamic State (IS), occurred at a time when the U.S. and the Taliban are preparing to announce a peace agreement to end the 18-year-long conflict. But if the IS attack is anything to go by, it is that peace will remain elusive to most Afghans irrespective of the agreement reached between the Taliban and the U.S. It’s now a three-way conflict in Afghanistan — the government, the Taliban insurgents and the global terrorists. The government in Kabul, backed by the U.S. and the international community, is fighting to preserve the existing system, which despite its faults, at least offers a semblance of democracy. But the government is a failure in ensuring safety and security of the people. The Taliban, which controls the mountainous hinterlands, wants to expand its reach to the urban centres. The IS, which has declared a province (Khorasan) in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar, has emerged as the third player. Attacks against civilians, especially the Shia minority, is the central part of its brutal military tactics. Afghanistan’s Hazara Shias were the target of the wedding hall bombing as well. The IS, which released a video of the purported bomber, a Pakistani, said he attacked “polytheistic rejectionists”, as the group calls Shia Muslims. — The Hindu

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