'Kabul blast – Taliban attempt to spark fear & confusion among security personnel'

Afghan security forces inspect the damage caused by a suicide bombers at the site of the attackon the western outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan June 30, 2016 © Omar Sobhani
The aim of the Taliban attack on Kabul police cadets is to put fear into the security apparatus so it won’t participate in the war against the terrorists, said former Afghan MP Daoud Sultanzoy.

A suicide blast on Thursday hit vehicles carrying police cadets on the western outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan. At least 27 people were killed and around 40 were wounded, according to authorities. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

RT: Both government employees and civilians have been killed in the attack, though it seems the officials were the main target, as in previous attacks. Why do you think they're being targeted?

Daoud Sultanzoy: It is very important to know that the Taliban’s tactics right now are probably stemming from losses in the battlefront. What they are trying to do is to attack government employees to discourage them from cooperating with the government, especially security forces. This was a group of police cadet graduates. The aim is to bring some sort of confusion and fear into the security apparatus so they will not participate in the organized warfare that is conducted against them. They are losing the war, so they are resorting to more violent suicide bombings, more violent urban warfare. That is one thing.

The second reason is – by this [the Taliban] are also telling the civilians: “Look, we will not bother you.” They are trying to make a PR point that “look we are after just the government officials and employees.” Since they’ve had a very bad image in perpetrating civilian causalities for a while – this is a way to separate themselves from civilian causalities. The main reason is that they are losing – commanders being killed and captured recently. They will resort to more of these attacks as pressure builds up on them.

RT: What can you tell us about the security situation in the country? Seems like it’s not working.

DS: There are several factors that cause this problem. Some of them are not under the control of the Afghan government or people. But those factors that are under our control are not being dealt with very systematically. We inherited a very bad situation from the previous government, and we have to create a situation where Afghan ownership of the non-military aspects of war is very, very prominent. The Afghan government should be able to exert itself as a government, provide services, provide proper governance for the people of Afghanistan, so that the people of Afghanistan can be owners of peace and protect that peace. No war can be won by military forces and this is not an exception. I believe firmly that unless the Afghan government wins the people and brings them to their fold, so they can conduct the non-military aspect of war by the people and their ownership of the process – this war will not be won by military means alone. 

RT: Washington's tried several times to engage the Taliban in the peace process, with no success. What is the solution?

DS: … One of the factors is the ability of the Taliban to take advantage of all the weaknesses that present themselves inside Afghanistan, the dissatisfaction of the people trying to fill that void. The other factor is  that the external forces who are perpetuating this war and they are using this war as a proxy instrument for putting pressure on the Afghan government, putting pressure on the region for their own designs. That is a very complicated factor that has to be dealt with in original fashion. First and foremost Pakistan and then other countries in the region afterwards should participate in this process. This war is not just against Afghanistan. This war has many dimensions that go beyond the frontiers of Afghanistan. So that factor has to be dealt with at that level.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.