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The Killid Group
Security worsened in 2011Written by Fazel Hadi Hamidi
Sunday, 15 January 2012 11:38
2011 will be remembered as another year of conflict in Afghanistan. Security forces appeared on the backfoot through much of the year. Taleban fighters seemed to hit the bull's eye in most encounters.
In early March, 470 political detainees, many of them Taleban commanders and fighters, dug their way out of the high-security Sarposa prison outside Kandahar. The Taleban claimed they had helped organise the escape through a tunnel 360 metres long that took five months to complete. Taleban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid was quoted saying 541 prisoners escaped, and the prison authorities were unaware. There were no casualties unlike the June 2008 escape of 900 prisoners, including hundreds of militants, from Sarposa after a Taleban suicide bomber blasted open the gates killing 15 guards.
After 10 years of hunting for Osama bin Laden, the United States got the elusive brain behind the al Qaeda on May 2 last year. Bin Laden was shot dead at a compound in Abbottabad, in a ground operation based on US intelligence. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the operation sent a signal to the Taleban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. "You cannot wait us out, you cannot defeat us, but you can make the choice to abandon al Qaeda and participate in a peaceful political process."
In a speech soon after, President Hamid Karzai told his NATO allies that they should not search Afghanistan for al Qaeda fighters. The group, which are on top of Washington's list of terrorists since the audacious attacks on New York and Washington on Sep. 11, 2001, is not in Afghanistan, he said.
The US and NATO have begun the staggered process of withdrawing from Afghanistan. In 2011, security responsibilities were handed over to Afghan security forces in two rounds. On July 16, Afghan troops took responsibility of security in districts of seven provinces including Bamyan, Panjshir, Heart and Lashkargah. Kabul city was also handed over to the Afghan security forces.
The second security transfer process started on Dec. 1. Afghan troops are now responsible for security of Balkh, Daikondy, Takhar, Samangan, Kabul and Nimroz. Other towns and districts include Jalalabad, Chighcheran, Shebarghan, Faizabad, Ghazni, Maidanshar and Qala Naw city.
On July 12, President Karzai's brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, was assassinated in Kandahar. He was a close adviser of the president and head of the Kandahar provincial council. The alleged assassin, Sardar Mohammad, was from Ahmadi Wali's hometown of Karz, and was from the same Popolzai tribe and district. The Taleban claimed responsibility but it is more likely that a personal motivation was behind the attack.
Suicide bombers claimed other high profile victims in Kandahar province. Khan Mohammad Mojahid, mayor of Kandahar city, Ghulam Haidar Hamidy and director of religious council of Kandahar were killed in different suicide attacks last year.
Also, General Mohammad Daud Daud, Commander 303 North Zone and security commander of Takhar province Shah Jahan Noori were killed in another explosion. Also General Abdul Rahman Sayed Khili, security commander of Kunduz province.
An armed attack on the house of Jan Mohammad Khan, advisor to the president, in Kabul on the night of July 16 killed Jan Mohammad Khan and the representative of Orozgan in parliament Mohammad Hashim Watanwal.
On Sep 20, the chairman of the Afghan High Peace Council appointed by the president, Burhanuddin Rabbani, was killed at his home by a suicide attacker. The assassin was one of two men, so-called Taleban commanders who had come to meet Rabbani. His peace council had been trying to woo senior figures in the Taleban away from the insurgency.
UNAMA has yet to release a report on how many civilians were killed in the conflict last year. But it's figures for the first six months of 2011 revealed a 15 percent increase in civilian casualties in the first six months of the year as compared to the previous year.
Director of the UNAMA Human Rights unit Georgette Gagnon told reporters they had recorded the deaths of 1,462 people. Eighty percent of the victims were armed opponents of the government. The worst month ever recorded since UNAMA started keeping note was May 2011. In the following month there were more bomb attacks and violence.
The most dreadful was the blasts in front of the Abu Fazl mosque on Ashura, a holy day for Shiites. The attack killed more than 60 pilgrims, many of them children and women. A Pakistani militant group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami, with close ties to al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack that injured around 150. The Taleban were quick to condemn the bombing.
Attacks on foreign forces
2011 was one of the worst for international forces in Afghanistan. A US military plane on a night raid in Wardak province was shot down, killing 31 people including an Afghan interpreter and seven Afghan commandos.
On Jun 29, 13 US soldiers were killed in the Darulaman area of Kabul.
The US embassy and ISAF commander's office were targeted on Sep. 13 The siege continued for some 20 hours.
Zahir Azimi, spokesman of the Ministry of Defence, claimed the Taleban are on the retreat.