2015 wasn't a very good year for Afghanistan. News coming from the country was genuinely alarming; renewed terror attacks, armed conflicts, assaults, air-strikes, massacres, innocent children, women and other civilians losing their lives. All these made 2015 another painful, heart-breaking year for Afghanistan. And that wasn't all. 2015 was also the bloodiest year in the 14-year-long Taliban insurgency.
The last days of December grabbed the headlines once again with bloody attacks. In the southern Afghan city of Helmand and the town of Sangin, armed clashes between Taliban and security forces intensified and just like Kunduz before, the Taliban seized control of certain areas.
British Major Richard Streatfield, who was stationed in Sangin in 2009-2010, candidly voiced his disappointment at the never-ending violence in Afghanistan:
“I won't deny, on a personal level, it does make you wonder - was it worth it? Because if the people we were trying to free Afghanistan from are now able to just take it back within two years, that shows that something went badly wrong at the operational and strategic level
There is no doubt that something is ¨terribly wrong¨ in Afghanistan. Moreover, it’s not only what’s going on in Helmand, or Sangin that makes that fact so painfully obvious.
2015 was a tour de force year for the Taliban across the country. The militants took back the city of Kunduz, and secured control in most parts of Afghanistan. Indeed, military experts describe the latest developments as the ‘biggest military achievements’ of the group since the 2001 US occupation.
Furthermore, ISIS continues to get stronger and gain a foothold in Afghanistan; it is fighting both the Taliban and the Afghan security forces, further destabilizing the country.
Economic problems, which have never really ceased to exist, became even more severe last year, as many investors left the country due to security concerns and unemployment reached crisis levels. On top of it, some 80,000 talented and well-educated Afghan youths left for other countries for work
The Afghan National Unity Government, set up in September 2014 with backing from the USA, has failed to meet the expectations of the Afghan people so far and the reforms promised for peace, welfare and transformation by President Ashraf Gani have yet to be carried out. Even the appointment of ministers proved to be a problem after months-long disagreements and the very important post of Defense Minister is still vacant. Combined with the escalating Taliban attacks, the optimistic atmosphere in the beginning of the year is long gone and has been replaced by a thick cloud of pessimism.
As long as these deep rifts and conflicts between the groups that make up the government continue, success doesn't seem very likely. Afghanistan needs solid brotherhood and unity as this is the only way to solve its now very complicated problems. The deeply-rooted issues can be overcome only with mutual love, respect and understanding.
The Afghan government is an elected government that consists of different ethnic groups in Afghanistan. As Nicholas Haysom, UN Special Representative for Afghanistan stated in his December presentation at the UN Security Council, there is no viable alternative for this government, which is a fact recognized even by the Afghan political opposition.
It is crucial that Afghanistan preserves its unitary structure, otherwise an even worse civil war might grip the country. This would be a grave danger not only for Afghanistan, but also for other countries in the region and the whole world in general. For this reason, it is imperative that Afghanistan is supported by both the Islamic world, and the West.
Clearly, this support should be based on love, respect, brotherhood and humility; it should involve not only economic, political, cultural, commercial or technological support, but moral support above all. And more importantly, it should never include any sort of military component as that would do nothing other than cause further bloodshed by the use of new weapons and bombs.
Time has clearly shown without a doubt that it is not possible to solve Afghanistan’s problems through military means. The Taliban insurgency that has continued for 14 years could not - and obviously will not - be solved despite the massive amounts spent on military campaigns, which has estimated to pass the threshold of one trillion US dollars.
Military operations can never end terrorism. A neutralized terrorist cell will be replaced immediately by others, and every dead militant will be replaced by new, more vengeful and hateful militants. In other words, a solution is possible only through education, not a soution by force. Killing militants and unceasingly bombing the country shouldn't be considered a solution.
Afghanistan can be saved with a wide-spread educational campaign based on humanity, selflessness, peace and love. This is what the Qur'an requires and is the only way to end all the terror, poverty, trouble and suffering in the world, including Afghanistan.
Adnan Oktar's piece in American Herald Tribune: