Kabul Security: The NUG's Achilles Heel?

04 Oct, 2017    ·   5374

Bismellah Alizada assesses the security situation in Kabul and the broader political implications the current state-of-affairs could trigger

On 29 September, terrorists attacked a Shia mosque in Kabul's district 10, when civilians were mourning Muharram, killing seven and wounding over 20. On 27 September, even as US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg were visiting Afghanistan, the Taliban attacked the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. This is the ninth major attack in the city this year. A closer look at the security situation in the city suggests that the present state-of-affairs has the potential to pose bigger problems for Afghanistan's ruling National Unity Government (NUG).

2017 has been the deadliest year for the residents of Kabul due to incessant suicide attacks. Since March 2017, nine major suicide attacks have taken place in the capital. One of these attacks was so severe that it triggered protests by the residents in which they demanded security and called for resignation of heads of the security institutions and the national security advisor. In response, the police opened fire at the protestors, killing seven protestors and injuring several others, leaving them with the resentment that they are targeted by the government as well as by terrorists. On 3 June, a triple suicide attack took place at the funeral of those killed during the protest, a ceremony at which Afghanistan's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah, former Chief of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) Amrullah Saleh, Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani and several MPs and Senators were present. This attack left 20 killed and over 87 wounded - merely days after the truck explosion in the 'green zone'. More recently, a Shia mosque was attacked where several men and women were offering their Friday prayers. The attack claimed over 100 lives, mostly women. This attack highlights yet another aspect of the ongoing war in Afghanistan: targeting religious minorities to fuel religious divide. Moreover, kidnapping of foreigners is another major security threat in the city. 

The NUG's Response 
Following a series of deadly attacks, the NUG decided to fortify Kabul's so called green zone to provide security for the presidential palace, the diplomatic quarters, and several ministry buildings. However, this knee-jerk reaction has done little to reduce violence and might in fact prove to be counter-productive for the NUG.

The fortification of the green zone was carried out by installing 'security gates'