After exactly two months since the start of direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, violence in Afghanistan has taken 5,411 lives and has wounded 3,561 people, including civilians, the Afghan military and the militants. Through RiV-monitoring we have independently documented 8,972 casualties from Sept. 11 to Nov. 11. The war in Afghanistan still remains one of the deadliest active conflicts in the world and takes nearly one hundred lives every day. Considering the conflict on the ground, the peace talks seem to bear no fruit and the war seems far from ending.
Afghanistan is passing through an inflection point indeed but reaching a peaceful settlement in a country that has been marred and entangled by decades-long war is not an easy ordeal. It’s been two months since the intra-Afghan negotiations (IAN) were launched on Sept. 12 but no tangible breakthrough has been made so far. This is while the spike in casualties, civilians for that particular matter, provides an opportune moment for the spoilers of peace to grasp at straws and undermine the whole peace process.
According to the RiV-monitoring which independently documents and reports all war-related security incidents perpetrated by any of the warring sides, at least 466 civilians have been killed while 803 others injured; 923 ANA forces are killed and another 755 injured and as many as 4,022 Taliban insurgents are killed and another 2,003 are injured during 854 attacks conducted throughout the two months. This indeed flies against the notion of a reduction in violence.
Looking at these bleak figures which show civilians equally being used as fuel in the unending Afghan war, the hope and optimism for peace fade away. The Taliban deny they have escalated violence but RiV figures show they have claimed responsibility for at least 511 incidents, the top in the list as ANDSF had carried out 212, NATO 5 while 214 attacks remained unclaimed. However, the most worrying aspects of the deteriorating security situation across the country are the spike in VBIEDS and targeted killings, which RiV recorded at 27 and 109 respectively.
There were reports of Qatar and some other countries mediating in the talks to break the deadlock in the intra-Afghan talks, but that seemingly hasn’t started. The stagnation in the talks and now a huge reshuffle in American politics are the two factors that add to the apprehensions of ordinary people regarding the ongoing peace process. Therefore, taking into consideration the fatalities figures of the past two months, the warring parties should try to salvage the peace process from the antagonists of peace and thus avoid playing into their hands.