There are two ways to look at Afghanistan at this juncture. As many as 5,122 civilians became victims of various terror-related incidents in the first six months of 2018,as many as 1,692 of them killed, a much higher level of casualties in vogue for the last three years. This year, the country will be holding its third parliamentary elections, a democratic exercise introduced after the liberation of the country from the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban in 2001. This is also the 30th. year of continuous warfare for the country. The Afghans live with war every day of their lives. There is no other country with that kind of debilitating qualification.
However, there are three distinctly new trends in the situation. The most significant of these is the people’s frustration and anger over the never-ending warfare and a devastated life they are being forced to live. This was manifest in a long march which common Afghans took out in early July covering 700 km. from the north to Kabul, demanding that the fighting be stopped by both the insurgents and the government and that peace negotiations begun. Peace activists in the march questioned the efficacy of the billion-dollar-worth international efforts to bring peace and reconstruction to the country.
However, the people’s search for peace and the government’s and the international players’ desperation to get the Taliban to the negotiating table underscores just one thing, and that is the unquestionable ascendancy of the Taliban in the intervening years since their ouster at the end of 2001. The fundamentalist force is now said to be controlling half of the country.