- Recently, Governor’s compound was attacked in southern Kandahar, Afghanistan, during high-level meeting which led to killing of top security officials.
- Background: The Kandahar attack was a warning by the Taliban to all of those who were prepared to participate in the parliamentary elections due few days ahead.
- The recent Kandahar attack led to killing of Abdul Raziq, the Kandahar police chief, and Abdul Momin, the Kandahar intelligence chief.
- Over the past couple of months, the Taliban has repeatedly targeted election offices and gatherings, killing at least 10 candidates and dozens of their supporters.
- A year ago, the Kandahar Governor’s office was attacked by militants, resulting in the death of a Deputy Governor, the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates and members of Parliament.
- The security situation is so dire in the country that one-third of the polling stations will not open on the upcoming election day.
- Significance of attack:
- The attack is a setback for the U.S. plan for direct talks with the Taliban as a way out of the 17-year-long conflict.
- Why US pushing for talks with Taliban now:
- An American special envoy to Afghanistan, recently met Taliban representatives in Qatar.
- The push for talks comes from a realisation that the war has drifted into a stalemate and an outright military solution could be impossible.
- Way forward:
- As U.S. is trying to turn up pressure on the militant group through Pakistan but this strategy will work only if the Afghan forces and their allies make some advances on the ground, and bring the Taliban under military pressure.