Why is Afghanistan unsafe

No sign of security

Mustafa Haidari had imagined his future differently. Around eight years ago he successfully completed his civil engineering studies at the University of Balch in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e Sharif. Shortly afterwards he moved to Kabul and worked with Western non-governmental organizations. They valued his work and expertise and paid him good money. Today Haidari no longer works as an engineer, but as a taxi driver. Many of his former clients have long since left. They are no longer interested in Afghanistan. Haidari's current job is now one of the most dangerous in the country. “I can make ends meet, but driving a taxi is dangerous. As soon as you leave the house, you don't know if you will come back alive, ”he says. The reasons for this are obvious.

For some time now, the Afghan capital has been plagued by so-called sticky bombs. They are cheap and easy to get hold of. They are said to be available on the black market for around 20 euros. Compared to other bombs, they do little damage. But they still kill and can hit anyone. Taxis have also been targeted by unknown perpetrators in the past few days and weeks. "I have no idea who is behind it, but they terrify the whole city," says Haidari.

Almost 20 years after the NATO invasion of Afghanistan began, Kabul is more insecure than it has been for a long time. Terrorists, criminal groups and state actors all contribute to this. Attacks and targeted assassinations are part of everyday life. In the midst of all the chaos, Washington wants to reduce its troop numbers. The troops were already reduced to 2,500 soldiers in January. This is primarily related to the US-Taliban deal that the US government signed with the militant Islamists in the Gulf emirate of Qatar almost a year ago. “I don't understand what that deal did. Afghans continue to die, ”says Mohammad Sakhizada, a trader and former wrestling trainer from the Dascht-e Barchi district of Kabul.

While Sakhizada describes life in Kabul, a sports event for physically disabled people takes place around him. Young men and women, mostly members of the Shiite Hazara minority, warm up and walk back and forth. Friends and relatives cheer them on. Despite the considerable crowd, there are hardly any safety precautions to be seen. A handful of soldiers and police officers are on site. You seem bored and appear disinterested. “There is nothing more than that. Be glad we're here at all, ”says one of the soldiers. He introduces himself as Kabir and comes from Kabul. He and his colleagues are not responsible for the bad security measures, but the organizers. You would have ignored bureaucratic rules.

Dascht-e Barchi has been the scene of brutal attacks several times in the past, primarily directed against the Hazara. Last May, ISIS extremists attacked a maternity hospital, killing 13 people, including two newborns. Other destinations were schools and sports clubs. In all cases, the security forces were held responsible for the failure. Corruption and a lack of discipline would make it easier for extremists to infiltrate them. They too are a legacy of Western efforts. After all, many of them have been trained by NATO countries over the past two decades.

However, many Afghans do not expect much from the foreign troops, but rather hope for an orderly withdrawal that will not leave any chaos. “Even when there were more soldiers around, we hardly saw them. They barricaded themselves in their bases and only went around with bulletproof devices. There was still uncertainty, ”says Shamsullah Khan, who sells sanitary ware. “Young soldiers are killed every day. What is it all for? ”He asks pessimistically after reading another death notice on his smartphone. “In 20 years, NATO troops have failed to create peace in Afghanistan. I think they failed, like everyone who came before them, ”says Khan.

What this means for the future of the country remains unclear. Both the Taliban and other actors are increasingly preparing for an escalation. According to reports, the notorious warlord and ex-vice president Abdul Raschid Dostum is said to have bought 40 new pickups for his militia. "He's preparing for more war," says a local journalist who doesn't want to be named. NATO is also partly responsible for the strengthening of men like Dostum. She has courted and enriched numerous warlords for years - and now, it seems, she is completely leaving the land to them again.

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