By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: The US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, John Sopko, at the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on National Security on Tuesday said that the Taliban have not significantly changed their high levels of violence, or military and political objectives.
“Security remains the most crucial and enduring high-risk area for Afghanistan,” Spoko said, adding that “Terrorist groups in Afghanistan like Daesh and al-Qaeda, although reduced, remain in the country.”
He said that the ongoing peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban raise questions and concerns about whether the fragile gains made by women and girls will be preserved in a future peace agreement.
“Discrimination persists, and possible policy changes by whatever form of government might follow an Afghan peace agreement could undermine women’s gains,” he said.
Spoko also mentioned that the civilian casualties also remain high—the numbers of civilian casualties violently killed and wounded in the last quarter of 2020 were the third highest in the last two years.
He said that Afghanistan remains exceptionally reliant upon foreign assistance, creating both an opportunity for donors to influence events there as foreign troops depart, adding that “and risks to a potential peace if they reduce assistance too much, too fast, or insist on conditions that cannot be achieved by the parties to the conflict.”