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Bloody spring offensive continues in Afghanistan despite dialogue

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News Analysis |

The commemoration of the 24th death anniversary of Shiite Hazara Leader Abdul Ali Mazari in Kabul Afghanistan was interrupted with mortars which caused death of more than 3 persons and injuring multiple folds. Right, when the former lower house speaker Mohammad Younus Qanooni was assuring that the attack was happening at a distant location, urging them to maintain calm a second mortar fell nearby which caused panic and people gushed toward the exit.

As it generally happens after such attacks in Afghanistan, multiple sources are reporting different death and injury tolls. Chief Executive of Afghan government Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai were also present in the audience at the time of the attack.

The United States which is currently engaged in the dialogue process with the Taliban has tried its best to work out a long-term ceasefire arrangement with Taliban which the group has refused.

It was the second attack this week; in the first attack that targeted a construction company site 2 suicide bombers exploded themselves and the rest of the attackers went all ablaze with their guns. It ultimately resulted in the death of 16 people in the Nangarhar province which has a heavy militant footprint. So far neither the Taliban nor the notorious Islamic state, a group despised and contested by both Taliban and the government forces, has claimed the responsibility of the attack as per the media reports.

Traditional ‘Spring Offensive’ of Afghanistan

Ever since the U.S invasion of Afghanistan, especially when Taliban returned, debunking the general notion that they have been defeated once and for all, with all their might and took the fight back to the U.S and NATO forces the term Spring offensive has become a textbook connotation of the fresh offensive which the group launches every year after the winter is over.

Read more: The ‘new Great-Game’ in Afghanistan

The phenomenon is not particularly prevalent in southern Afghanistan, a part which is less vulnerable to heavy snow and trademark cold of Hindukush, but mostly in the Northern part of the country. Heavy snow renders both sides to stay within the barracks or compounds as the fighting becomes impossible.

But as soon as the climate allows maneuverability, Taliban have been known to strike the opposition forces with all the strength which they had accumulated over the months of relative peace. For the U.S and Afghan forces, a mere lull in the fighting pattern is worth more than taking the fight to the enemy when they are vulnerable in the mountains due to extreme weather.

In the last two cases, though the Taliban have not claimed the responsibility of attacks they have been known to distance themselves immediately from acts of terror carried out by the Islamic state.

Taliban take the opportunity for recruiting more foot soldiers during this time, convening together and discussing the war strategy. Over the past several years, particularly those which saw heavy snow, the spring belligerence has been bloody causing the economic and loss of lives for the opposing forces to the Taliban.

Impact of Dialogue

Other than the 3 days ceasefire during Eid Ul Fitr last year, there has not been a single day in the past 17 years where both sides have declared to put down the arms. The United States which is currently engaged in the dialogue process with the Taliban has tried its best to work out a long-term ceasefire arrangement with Taliban which the group has refused.

Despite all the breakthroughs which U.S special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad claims, the insurgents have kept the fight alive at the front which gave them a strong ground in the dialogues with the United States in Doha. There have been developments which were acknowledged by both sides toward the endgame to the ongoing conflict, but there has been no halt in the fight so far.

Read more: Afghanistan continues to bleed: Six killed in a suicide attack

As a result of ongoing negotiations, it was expected that the group might slow down its activities against the government forces if not putting an end to it completely. In the last two cases, though the Taliban have not claimed the responsibility of attacks they have been known to distance themselves immediately from acts of terror carried out by the Islamic state. It underscores the notion that this year too, the spring offensive would inflict loss against the government forces in Afghanistan.