Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Out of the Eye and into the Storm

Afghan Kunar
 It’s as if Afghanistan is shifting out of the calm of the eye and back into the storm as 21 Afghan soldiers were killed in one of the most deadly Taliban attacks this year.  The calm didn’t last long as tensions are starting to heat up thanks to the rapidly approaching presidential elections.  Kunar is a small province in Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan, a dangerous area just for that reason, but the increase in Taliban power and force has made it especially challenging as of late.  Pakistani militants use Kunar as an important transportation route, but it has also been one of the most violent areas since the US entered Afghanistan.  In the attack at the province checkpoint, 21 Afghan soldiers were killed, 7 were captured, and one attacker also died in the midst of the violence.  The fighting broke out between hundreds of soldiers and Taliban members and lasted for several hours.     

One of the most frustrating aspects of this recent attack is that it is believed that there are members of the Taliban who have infiltrated the Afghan army and helped organize the attack.  Because of this, over 20 people were either captured or killed, an act of violence that surely could have been prevented.  After the attack, and after some of the dust settled, nine Afghan army officials were “dismissed for negligently failing to prevent an attack.”  There is a lot of speculation over how the negligent officers were involved, but the beliefs are that some actually helped facilitate the attack, others were asleep during it, and some didn’t even fightback.  Because of the attack, President Karzai had to postpone his visit to Sri Lanka; security has also started to increase as the attacks are becoming more frequent and the elections are getting closer.  With President Karzai unable to run for reelection and the Taliban supposedly targeting the election and the candidates, security will need to step up significantly and the Afghan army will have to find a way to stay strong.  

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