Afghanistan. The military situation, seen from the perspective of the government and NATO forces, steadily deteriorated during the year. Already in early November, well over 600 NATO soldiers had been killed, more than 100 more than 2009. Even in the northern provinces of which the Swedish force is responsible for the fighting increased significantly. During the year, three Swedish soldiers were killed and several wounded.
According to COUNTRYAAH, Afghanistan has a population of 37.17 million (2018). The number of Afghan civilian casualties also continued to rise, both as a result of NATO bombings and bomb attacks by the Taliban. The increasingly strong resistance movement carried out a series of suicide attacks in the center of Kabul.
The biggest offensive to date against the Taliban was carried out during the spring in the southern province of Helmand and was first described as a great success. After a few months, the Taliban appeared to have picked up new forces and a announced new offensive in Qandahar was shelved for the time being.
President Hamid Karzai spoke more and more about the need for peace contacts with the Taliban movement, and even military and political leaders from NATO countries began to support the idea of talks with the enemy. In October, NATO confirmed that the Taliban leader had given free rein to Kabul. Later, newspaper reports came out that a man described as high-ranking Taliban leader may have been a fraudster who disappeared after receiving a larger sum of money. Supreme Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar dismissed the details of peace contacts, and some political analysts suspect that key Taliban leaders seized in Pakistan during the year may have been those who advocated peace talks without the approval of Pakistani military security service Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
President Hamid Karzai, whose reputation was weakened by a debatable victory in the 2009 elections, continued to have problems and made several startling appearances. He had to rely on an incomplete government all year, after Parliament rejected several of his appointments. Karzai’s decision to take control of the UN-supported Electoral Complaints Commission, which in 2009 rejected a number of votes that accrued to him, received harsh criticism and he was gradually forced to retreat. He also had to back down from a decision that all private security companies should be stopped. The president also received sharp answers to the accusation against the UN and the EU for trying to dismiss him through cheating in the 2009 election. His request that the United States reduce the war effort was also rejected with surprisingly raised eyebrows.
Primarily due to a fungal attack, the opium harvest fell sharply to 3,600 tonnes, almost halving since 2009. However, the value of the harvest increased by 38 percent to $ 604 million at the producer level.
A report from the US Department of Defense Pentagon in November confirmed that successes against the Taliban were modest despite 30,000 more soldiers. US spokesmen were skeptical of NATO’s goal for Afghan forces to take over responsibility for the country in 2014. US commander Stanley McChrystal was fired in June following critical statements about the circle of President Barack Obama. He was replaced by David Petraeus, who previously led the efforts in Iraq. The Dutch NATO force ended its presence in Afghanistan on 1 August. In several other countries, public opinion for an exit from the country increased.
In September, parliamentary elections were held. The result was delayed until the end of November, after the electoral commission had annulled a quarter of all votes and rejected 24 candidates who had first been declared victors in their constituencies. The cheating was most widespread in the Pashtunian-dominated provinces, which led to the country’s largest population being heavily under-represented. The opposition was given the hope of being able to put the Karzai Pashtun under tougher pressure.
The Afghan civilian population was also hit harder by other than the fighting. A UN report in January showed that the residents in the previous year had to pay the equivalent of about SEK 17 billion in bribes to public officials in order to get cases settled. A recent report from the World Organization stated that corruption helps keep the population in poverty and diminishes the powers of the people in respect of human rights. Although at least US $ 35 billion has been allocated for aid since 2002, the majority of residents are still living in poverty.
Half the population in need of emergency assistance
20th of August
Sixteen million Afghans, or nearly half of the population, need humanitarian aid to survive, reports the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). The corona pandemic has led to the loss of a livelihood of around four million people in Afghanistan.
Eighty Taliban detainees are released
Afghan authorities say 80 Taliban figures convicted of serious crimes such as murder and kidnapping have been released from prison. The releases take place as part of the prisoner exchange in accordance with the peace agreement between the United States and the Taliban. Several countries are reported to be expressing concern about the releases, such as the United States, France and Australia.
Every third resident has had the coronavirus
Nearly a third of the population (31.5 percent, or ten million Afghans) have or have had the coronavirus, according to the Afghan health authority. The information comes from a study of antibody tests of about 9,500 people. The survey was conducted with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO). The highest proportion is in Kabul, where more than half of the inhabitants had antibodies in their blood. The sampling capacity is very small in Afghanistan, which has had 36,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and just over 1,200 deaths with covid-19. The corona pandemic reached Afghanistan in February when thousands of Afghan migrants returned home from neighboring Iran, one of the first countries in the world to be reached by the pandemic.
The government releases 300 imprisoned Taliban
In connection with a three-day ceasefire, the government is releasing 300 imprisoned Taliban, which means that it has now released 4,900 of the 5,000 imprisoned Taliban that the government side has promised to release. However, the government has refused to release hundreds of Taliban members who hold high positions in the movement or have committed serious violent crimes. However, these people have called for the Taliban movement to be free, which has put a damper on the peace process. The Taliban say they have already released the 1,000 government prisoners provided for in the peace deal.