Afghanistan. The situation in the war-torn country continued to be unstable during the year. Many people lost their lives in various attacks by Taliban, but also by Afghan and foreign soldiers. According to the UN, the number of civilian victims increased sharply compared to the previous year.
In an air raid of NATO flights in February, at least ten civilians were killed, including several children. According to Countryaah, the incident led President Hamid Karzai to ban foreign aircraft from supporting the Afghan military in military operations in civilian areas.
In April, the deadliest attack occurred since 2011 when the Taliban stormed a court in the city of Farah in the west. The storm was an attempt to exonerate 13 members of the Taliban militia who would face trial in court. The incident ended with 53 people being killed and over 90 injured, including some 30 civilians.
During the year, several countries, including Sweden, announced that they planned to significantly reduce their presence in Afghanistan. In June, the Afghan military took over responsibility from NATO-led troops for all military operations and security operations in the country.
During the autumn, the Swedish government announced that aid to Afghanistan should increase sharply during the period 2015-19, at the same time as the government believed that Sweden should continue to participate in the ISAF international security force even after the withdrawal in 2014. The soldiers who remain in the country should primarily work with counseling. and educational activities.
Just a month after the takeover of the Afghan military, the country’s interior minister Mujtaba Patang was deposed by a declaration of confidence in parliament. Patang had previously been accused of, among other things, corruption and for having acted ruthlessly against Parliament when he refused to inform about the toughening security situation in the country.
During the year, about twenty people were registered as candidates for the 2014 presidential election and in October eleven of them were approved by the country’s electoral authority. In the same month, disagreements arose between President Karzai and US President Barack Obama about an agreement that allowed thousands of US soldiers to remain in Afghanistan even after the withdrawal in 2014. The agreement also provided conditions for US soldiers to obey US law as long as they was in Afghanistan. The relationship between the United States and President Karzai deteriorated as early as June when Karzai reacted very negatively to information that the United States was planning to begin direct talks with the Taliban. Karzai said such talks would weaken the Afghan government’s position.
The US was also accused of contributing to the widespread corruption in the country. It was the New York Times newspaper that first published the news that the US intelligence service CIA had provided the Afghan presidential office with large sums of money for a period of ten years, a statement later confirmed by President Karzai.
A series of events during the year confirmed the image that women are particularly vulnerable in the war in Afghanistan. In August, e.g. Fariba Ahmadi Kakar, sitting in the Afghan Parliament and during the summer and early fall, killed a total of three female police officers in the province of Helmand. In addition, according to the human rights organization Human Rights Watch, the number of women imprisoned for so-called moral crimes has increased significantly in recent years.
After the Afghan military took over responsibility for security in the country, the number of soldiers and policemen killed has risen compared to previous years. How many people have died is unclear as the regime has chosen not to publish information on this.
Intense fighting in the east and south
Some 60 government soldiers and police were killed on September 22 in fighting with Taliban forces in several parts of the country. Dozens of Taliban fighters are also killed, reports the broadcast media company Al Jazeera. The next day, about 30 semi-military police are killed in fighting with the Taliban in southern Afghanistan, reports the news agency AFP. On September 24, government soldiers kill 65 Taliban fighters in a counter-offensive after the Taliban stormed a military headquarters in the eastern Afghan province of Paktika, according to government sources. Thirty-five Taliban were injured in the clashes, while three policemen were killed and six were injured.
Peace talks begin in Qatar
Regular peace talks begin in Doha, Qatar, between representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban movement. The government delegation is led by Abdullah Abdullah, who calls for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire”. However, Taliban spokesman Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar did not comment on Abdullah’s appeal. He reiterates instead the Taliban’s basic stance that Afghanistan should be governed by Islamic Sharia law. Also present in Doha is US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. At the same time as the peace process, fighting and other acts of violence are taking place in Afghanistan. Dozens of deaths are harvested every day.
Vice President escapes assassination
Vice President Amrullah Saleh escapes with minor injuries a bombing aimed at his vehicle column in Kabul. However, a dozen civilians are killed in the attack, which observers believe is an attempt to sabotage the peace talks that are to begin between the government and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar. Vice President Saleh is a sharp critic of the Taliban movement, which, however, denies involvement in the assassination attempt.
Afghan government: “Prisoner of exchange completed”
Afghanistan has now released all Taliban prisoners except “a few” who other nations opposed, a spokesman for the National Security Council said. Afghanistan now expects peace talks with the Taliban to begin in Doha, the spokesman added.