Successive Kabul blasts put June 6 Peace Conference in jeopardy | Pakistan Today

Successive Kabul blasts put June 6 Peace Conference in jeopardy

Experts opine unabated ‘motivated attacks’ reflect an unpopular Afghan govt crumbling with terrorists

— Imtiaz Gul says instead of taking practical steps, Afghan govt blames Pakistan for everything bad

Successive bomb blasts in the most secure area of Kabul at a funeral procession on Saturday have raised serious questions over the fate of the upcoming International Conference on Peace, Security and Reconciliation on June 6.

The situation in Kabul is worsening, as soon after the attacks, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) embassy has been closed and the diplomatic staff has left Kabul, whereas German embassy, which was badly damaged due to the recent blast in diplomatic enclave, has also suspended operations.

Experts, however, opine that the unabated ‘motivated attacks’ reflect an unpopular regime crumbling with terrorists, having support from elements within the ruling coalition, and a possible objective of the perpetrators might be to sabotage the upcoming international moot on Afghan peace process.

Though 25 countries, including Pakistan, announced to attend the conference besides United States, China, Russia, India, Iran and many others; however, it is premature to say how many countries would send in their delegations as the situation is deteriorating fast in Kabul.

Only two days back, an explosive-laden truck entered the most secure, Green Zone, of Kabul and exploded near the German Embassy, killing over 90 people and injuring around 500 others.

Eminent analyst on Afghanistan Tahir Khan told Pakistan Today that perhaps the political crisis was deepening, which was adding to the woes of the already fragile government in Kabul.

“Successive blasts in the most secure zone of Kabul have made people furious. There would be more political, diplomatic and economic fallout of these attacks. Another aspect of the recently held protest was that Ahmad Zia Masood, the brother of slain Ahmad Shah Masood, was backing the protest after he was sacked by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani,” he added.

Khan said that the people in the streets were now openly questioning how the terrorists managed to take an explosive-laden truck inside the Green Zone.

He said that there were serious questions as to who was behind the terrorist attacks, as Taliban had denied their involvement while the Islamic State (IS aka Daesh) was also keeping mum over the incident.

“This must be an inside job. People say that perhaps those elements inside the regime were behind these attacks who want to justify the presence of foreign troops. Since the Trump Administration is already reviewing its strategy on Afghanistan and Gen Nicholson has demanded more US troops for Afghanistan, one can’t rule out the possibility of an inside job,” he added.

Khan said another factor which added to doubts was that the target of the attacks was not security forces; rather the general public. Taliban normally target security forces, not the civilians; hence, there is a possibility that the Taliban were not behind the attack.

“All of this has added fuel to the fire and people are angrier; therefore, they are raising slogans against Ghani,” he added.

He said that it had become a norm to blame Pakistan for everything bad happening in Afghanistan because the political leadership in Kabul was not ready to set its own house in order.

“It looks as if the crumbling regime was unable to handle the situation and terrorists were adding fuel to the fire as the people were getting largely agitated and Dr Ghani was also losing political support,” he added.

Imtiaz Gul, another expert on Afghan affairs, told this scribe that perhaps the terrorists wanted to sabotage the upcoming international conference in Kabul due on June 6.

“There are many factors behind the instability in Kabul. The situation is volatile and the ousted Ahmad Zia Masood is also another factor of instability and turmoil. Disunity, differences, divisions are further aggravating the already chaotic situation in the Afghan capital. Differences between Dr Ghani, Dr Abdullah Abdullah and Karzai are widening, which are adding to the woes of Afghanistan,” he added.

He said the situation may have been exploited by terrorists, who were hitting Kabul time and again.

“The string of attacks may be a part of an attempt to sabotage the June 6 international conference. Pakistan is already reviewing its options whether or not to attend the moot, as the situation is already hostile since many in Kabul blame Pakistan. Instead of taking practical steps, they blame Pakistan for everything bad,” he added.

He said there was a need for reassessing the security situation as there were no scanners and other security surveillance gadgets to ensure a secure Green Zone.

“You can’t find metal detectors while vehicles entering the green zone. The security cordon in place can’t block the motivated attackers who are hell bent to attack any gathering or installation,” he added.

Lt Gen (retd) Amjad Shoaib said that the Afghan government has time and again failed in its fight against terrorism and corruption and chaos has further deepened the crisis, allowing the monsters to emerge one after the other.

“Whether it is IS or ethnic or sectarian war, the conflict in Kabul is deepening. While the governance has deteriorated, the international and regional players are also using Afghan soil for their proxy wars,” he said.

The former military strategist said that one needs to understand that while IS is a two-faced monster, the Taliban are also playing in hands of various intelligence agencies; hence, any group may be behind the attacks.

“The US is not sincere in stabilising Afghanistan. Iran is playing a double game, it is facilitating its economic and political support to the US-backed regime in Kabul; on the other hand, Iran also wants to remove IS and backing the Taliban,” he concluded.

Mian Abrar

The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He can be reached at [email protected]