Afghanistan. The military situation deteriorated dramatically during the year. In the southern and eastern provinces, international forces were drawn into more and more bloody battles against Taliban and other armed movements. The Taliban appeared with a greater degree of awareness than before, indicating both a more effective organization and a radicalized ideology similar to that expressed by the terror network al-Qaeda.
In July, the NATO-led peacekeeping force ISAF assumed command of all military operations in the southern provinces and in October for the entire country. About 12,000 US soldiers were included in ISAF and placed under non-US command – a very unusual phenomenon – while the remaining 8,000 Americans completely devoted themselves to the hunt for al-Qaeda in the eastern border. According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Afghanistan include Independence Day (August 19) and New Year (January 1). British, Canadians and Dutch were involved in some of the toughest fighting since NATO was formed in the fall. At the beginning of the year, Sweden, with an increased force of about 200 men, commanded ISAF in the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif.
Up to the end of the year, fighting and assaults were estimated to have claimed more than 3,800 lives, of which more than 1,000 civilians. Some 80 suicide attacks had been carried out, and according to an investigation, around 600 armed attacks or other forms of attacks per month occurred at the end of the year. The increased number of civilian victims has diluted the public’s dissatisfaction with the United States in particular. When US military vehicles were pulled over in a traffic accident in Kabul in May, bloody rattles broke out.
The disarmament of armed movements linked to the government, which began in 2003, was then completed just over 63,000 people left their weapons. But there are still estimated to be about 200 armed groups in the country – insurgency movements, drug lords and other criminal gangs. The worsening war situation meant that the fight against drugs was almost stopped. Afghanistan received a record crop of opium of about 6,100 tonnes, corresponding to 92 percent of world production. In some provinces, production more than doubled during the year. Illegal drug trafficking is estimated to account for at least one-third of the country’s economy and employing one in ten residents.
President Hamid Karzai had trouble getting through some appointments. Only in August was the new government complete, almost a year after the parliamentary elections, after Parliament rejected several of the president’s proposals. Parliament also refused to give renewed confidence in the religious fundamentalist who led the Supreme Court’s work since 2001. A United States-trained lawyer took his place.
In July 2015, it was announced that Taliban leader Mullah Omar had died in April 2013 of tuberculosis. However, the Taliban had kept it a secret until 2015. The announcement of Omar’s death sparked a power struggle in the Taliban, initially choosing Akhtar Mansour as the new leader. However, the election was criticized by other parts of the movement and in November came the serious fighting between various Taliban factions in Zabul province. The Taliban was split on the issue of continued affiliation with al Qaeda or joining IS. IS had emerged since the summer of 2014, and this movement has a tradition of hitting hard on rivals. 100 partisans were killed during the internal Taliban uprising in Zabul.
At a January 2016 meeting between representatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States, a framework for peace talks with the Taliban was agreed. However, the process did not go far, as the Taliban demanded at a subsequent Doha negotiation meeting that all foreign forces should leave Afghanistan and that Taliban members should be removed from the UN terror list before actual negotiations could be initiated.
In February, President Ghani appointed prominent human rights lawyer Mohammad Farid Hamidi as state attorney. That same month, the government created a fund to support female survivors of gender-based violence. Government members donated 15% of their February salary to support the fund.
After several years of negotiations, the government signed a peace agreement in September with the country’s second largest rebel group, Hezb-i-Islami, led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. As part of the agreement, the group was granted amnesty for the crimes it had committed during the Civil War and its imprisoned members were released.
In October, an international donor conference was held in Brussels, with the international community committed to giving Afghanistan $ 15.2 billion. US $ in development assistance. Shortly before, the EU and Afghanistan had signed an agreement under which Afghanistan undertook to accept an unlimited number of unwanted Afghan asylum seekers in the EU. This happened despite the increasingly serious security situation in the country. 1.4 million Afghans were internally displaced – double the number according to 2013 – and 2.3 million were displaced. had fled the country. The Taliban stepped up the fighting in September and October for the purpose of conquering entire provinces. In October, the movement occupied the provincial capital of Kunduz.
In the first 9 months of 2016, the conflict had 8,397 civilian victims, of which 23% were responsible for government. During the year, the Taliban and especially IS carried out huge bloody attacks that cost hundreds of civilian lives.