Taliban 'security offensive' heightens security fears in Afghanistan

A U.S. soldier with the International Security Assistance Force, a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan, at his post. Photo by: Gary A. Witte / isafmedia / CC BY-NC

The coordinated attack across eastern Afghanistan by forces related to the Taliban Sunday (April 15) once again raised fears on the increasing security situation in the country.

The nearly 18-hour siege happened just as NATO forces’ withdrawal in Afghanistan is drawing to a close. It also occurred at a critical time when Afghan President Hamid Karzai is pushing for the transition of private security guards to the Afghan Public Protection Force.

Everyone, except for NATO and diplomatic missions, are to switch to government-provided security, the Times-Standard reports. This includes companies doing development work and nongovernmental organizations. But the change seems to pose several problems for aid work in the country, especially for U.S.-led aid projects.

The Professional Services Council, referred to as the voice of the government professional and technical services industry, warned U.S. Congress in March that the mandatory shift could jeopardize U.S. Agency for International Development projects and personnel in the country.

PSC said there is a “growing concern” of so-called “green on blue” attacks by uniformed Afghans on U.S. and coalition personnel. In addition, the council said the use of new APPF guards “complicates” the risk assessment and cost projections of development projects in Afghanistan.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said Sunday’s attack was an act of revenge against U.S. work in Afghanistan, including the burning of Korans at a NATO base and the massacre of 17 Afghan civilians allegedly by a U.S. soldier, Reuters reports. Mujahid said the primary targets were Western military and diplomatic installations, The Washington Post says. The U.S., British, Germany, Canadian, Japanese and Russian embassies were reportedly attacked Sunday.

In August last year, suicide bombers attacked the British Council cultural center and killed nine people. One month after, the Taliban attacked the headquarters of foreign troops in Kabul, including the U.S. embassy. Fourteen people were killed in the 19-hour siege, Agence France-Presse reports.

Read more:

Read more development aid news online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders — emailed to you FREE every business day.

About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.