Yet another blast rocks Kabul: Is Afghanistan army capable of defending the nation?
The Nowroz or New Year had a devastating beginning in Afghanistan as 26 people were left lifeless by an explosion in Kabul while 15 were injured. A suicide bomber had detonated the explosives among some pedestrians in an area near the Ali Abad Hospital and Kabul University to carry on the blood-spilling game in one of Asia's most volatile country.
The latest explosion has seen condemnation from various quarters, including President Ashraf Ghani who has recently invited Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to his country to start a comprehensive dialogue for peace.
Can Afghanistan army capable of taking on terrorists?
But apart from the condemnation, it is also being asked whether the Afghanistan army is capable of ensuring security against the rising instances of terror activities?
In April 2017, two top Afghan army personnel had stepped down following a horrible Taliban attack on an army base outside Mazar-e-Sharif in Balkh province, killing over 160 Afghan soldiers. The perpetrators, around 10 of them, had come in the guise of armymen and carried out the mayhem, causing a massive damage to the psyche of the army as well as the war-torn nation. The two resignations from the top were accompanied by a suspension of four personnel and probe into eight more for allegations that the Taliban attackers were aided from inside the military camp.
The US stresses more on Taliban while other terror outfits spread tentacles in Afghanistan
The challenges to domestic security in Afghanistan have been manifold but the counter force is more specific. The Islamic State (IS) has also increased its presence in Afghanistan after things have looked down for them in Syria and Iraq and they, along with the old terror residents of Taliban, have made the threat to peace in the region much more.
The US has focused more on dealing with the Taliban in Afghanistan but that has left other terror outfits largely unaddressed. The IS has been carrying out terror activities in Afghanistan of late, including the March 21 tragedy, but one isn't sure how much the Afghan security force and its trainer - the US and the West - would still think about dealing with the IS challenge hereafter.
US sends more troops to Afghanistan but yet the violence doesn't subside
Even the West's presence in Afghanistan has not been bearing the fruit since the conclusion of the NATO combat mission in December 2014 and the current US administration led by President Donald Trump has vowed to commit more soldiers to the Afghanistan cause.
In August last year, Trump said 4,000 more American troops would be pressed into service in Afghanistan. In November, the number of American soldiers stationed in Afghanistan went up to 14,000 with the personnel stationed on the ground seeking more reinforcement. Top US commander in Afghanistan General John Nicholson said he needed 16,000 troops in Afghanistan and the remaining 2,000 would be made up by the NATO members.
Yet, with all these arrangements, Kabul continued to bleed often.
The idea of sending more and more troops to Afghanistan didn't appeal to a number of experts who thought only increasing the numbers was not going to change the ground reality. The Afghans troops haven't received the best of training and problems like corruption and poor air support have led to exit from the military ranks and leaving the national defence more vulnerable. The division within the political ranks of the country's leadership has not helped things either. With a weak democracy and military force, Afghanistan literally lies at the mercy of those who want to destroy it beyond recovery.