The latest blast in a crowded area in Kabul, where the extremists used an explosive laden ambulance that killed more than 95 people, shows that the extremists are still calling the shots in Afghanistan. More than 16 years after the US involvement in Afghanistan the situation there continues to be in a mess. That merely enhancing US force level is no solution to the long-running insurgency led by the Taliban and assisted by the IS has been proved by the series of blasts in the last one year in the capital. Reportedly, the artificially drawn up government of Ashraf Ghani controls only half of the 34 provinces, and the Loya Jirga council is long overdue.
The US may well shift its focus of threat from the IS and religiously motivated terrorism, but for the rest of us, given the continued muddle in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for South Asia in particular, the threat persists and will continue to persist, unless the US strategy is recalibrated. Only infrastructure development, or investing more troops, without taking the social and cultural reality of Afghanistan, cannot integrate the country and attain sustainable peace. The internal dynamics of the country must be reckoned with.
The US presence in Afghanistan is becoming open-ended, and it is, unfortunately, the people of that country who are bearing the brunt of the violence. The fractured Afghan leaders must come together sinking their parochial interest to establish peace at their own terms in the interest of the people.