War-weary Afghans foresee more violence in 2010

14:42, December 31, 2009      

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by Abdul Haleem

Conflict-plagued Afghan people like years ago do not pin much hope on the coming year and they predict to see more violence in 2010.

Having almost similar view, the hapless Afghans including experts, ordinary and officials believe that 2010 will not be better than the preceding one.

"2010 will be a tough year for Afghanistan as from one side the international troops will increase their strength, and on the other, the armed oppositions would expand their activities in an efforts to disperse the troops," political analyst Waheed Muzghda told Xinhua.

He said that in summer, traditionally fighting season in Afghanistan, both Taliban and the security forces would do their best to boost their influence and strengthen their grips. This will eventually lead to further fatalities on the non-combatants.

"Despite troop surge in 2010, the situation will not be different from 2009 and even worse than that," he said.

Muzghda, an eminent analyst, anticipated strain in U.S.-Afghan relations in 2010, saying Washington is against holding Afghan parliamentary elections, while Kabul has set May as the timeline for the polls.

Confrontation with the U.S., said the analyst, would affect Washington's support to the Afghan administration.

The United States, United Nations and European Union, according to media reports, have urged the Afghan administration to postpone holding parliamentary election until it finalized a new electoral law.

U.S. President Barack Obama in a renewed strategy unveiled in early December announced deploying additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, bringing the number of U.S.- NATO troops to over 130,000.

In a sharp reaction, the Taliban outfit said that the increase of more troops means increase in their casualties.

Protracted war and instability in Afghanistan have waned the hope for future and many Afghans believe that their destiny is conflict, destruction and killing.

"I have been experiencing the war over the past 30 years and since then have been suffering. I believe that 2010 would not be the end of the protracted miseries and rather the instability would continue for the years to come," said Mohammad Yasin, a primary school teacher.

With the collapse of the Taliban regime in late 2001, the ray of hope for future had raised and prompted more than 3.5 million Afghan refugees to return home from neighboring states but their hopes are fading due to reemergence of militancy.

"Hundreds of thousands of those returned home after the fall of Taliban regime have gone back to neighboring Pakistan and Iran or had taken shelter to safer places inside the country," Yasin said.

In this regard, he added that dozens and even hundreds of families from the southern Helmand province have left their homes due to conflicts over the past two years and live in makeshift camps in Kabul and other cities while skirmishes are still going on in Helmand.

Some 12 million people out of Afghanistan's 30-million around population, live under poverty in the war-ravaged Afghanistan, according to local media.

"Increasing insurgency has faded up our hopes for future. In yester years, militants' activities were limited to specific areas but today they can attack Kabul and any parts of the country and continuation of the trend speaks of more violence in 2010," said Farooq Shah, who works as security guard for a foreign agency.

The graph of casualties of the international troops, as well as civilians, according to local media, has been on constant rise as 508 service members of the NATO-led forces have been killed in 2009 against 295 in 2008.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) had recorded 2,021 civilian deaths killed in militancy and armed conflicts between January to October 2009 in the country.

The number of Afghan civilians killed in the first 10 months of 2008 and 2007, according to media reports, were 1,838 and 1,275 respectively.

The security apparatus do not rule out the increase in security incidents in 2010, predicting escalation in insurgency this year.

"The level of militancy and security incidents would go up in April, May and June when the weather gets warm," Defense Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi told the media last week, adding that the situation would be gradually improved with the capacity building of national troops and surge in international one.

Source: Xinhua
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