Spoilers at work

Spoilers at work

A suicide bombing in Arza district in Afghanistan’s Logar province has taken the lives of scores of people. There have been conflicting estimates on the numbers killed and injured in the explosion. However, there is no doubt that this is among the most brutal attacks that Afghanistan has experienced in many years as it targeted a hospital. The single-story hospital came crashing down when the suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into the hospital gates. Hospitals have been targeted in the past. Last month, a suicide bomber attacked the main military hospital in Kabul, killing six people. But the attack in Arza was particularly repugnant. Among the dead are several children, women and aged. Insurgent attacks have been on the increase in Logar, a province that borders Pakistan. Attacks in the first two weeks of June exceeded those in all of May. Across the country, it is civilians who are bearing the brunt of the violence by the Taliban, other militia or NATO forces. According to the UN, 368 civilians were killed in May alone, making it the deadliest month for civilians since it began keeping count in 2007. On Friday, ten people were killed when a bicycle bomb went off in Kunduz.
The violent attacks are aimed not just at killing and terrorising people but at dismantling peaceful efforts to resolve conflicts. These are aimed at angering people and pushing them to lose faith in reconciliation. The Afghan government is embarking on peace talks to end the conflict. It is possible that the spurt in attacks is aimed at killing this effort. There are any number of vested interests in Afghanistan, its neighbourhood and beyond who are keen to keep the country plunged in strife. After all, the war in Afghanistan has provided a fresh lease of life to several weapons manufacturers in the west as well as in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province. Defense contractors and drug lords have minted millions from the bloody strife in Afghanistan. They do not want peace to return and would resort to anything, including attacks on civilians, to keep the Afghan cauldron boiling and their businesses running.

The coming weeks and months will severely test the resolve of Afghans. Violence will be stepped up by those opposed to Afghans crafting for themselves a lasting solution to the conflict. The people of Afghanistan must resist these provocations and persist with their quest for a peaceful solution.

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