The Taliban have announced their intent to kill as many as possible in Afghanistan before and during the voting process, and it seems that they are holding true to their word. No one is exempt, as the attack on the Hotel Serena proved, where children and women were amongst those brutally murdered by the four teenagers who went around killing indiscriminately until they were shot down after 3 hours of battling with security.
With the elections looming closer, the Taliban in Afghanistan are doing everything in their power to cause as much destruction as possible to stall the polling process and to undermine the writ of the next President before he comes to power. The security forces must pull its socks up, not allow terrorists to slip guns into theirs and pass by unfettered. A similar, ingenious strategy for infiltration was used to kill eight people in the hotel gymnasium in 2008, and was successful two days ago for the second time.
What is truly worrying here, is the extent of their infiltration. Not only were four “under-age” militants (Is there really such a thing?) able to permeate a luxury hotel in the heart of Kabul a fortnight before the elections, they also managed to kill a prominent AFP journalist and his family. This comes only a week after a Swedish journalist was killed here and gives a strong message to journalists crowding to Kabul for the April 5th D-Day. It is essential, that the local and foreign press be able to do their work in order to ensure a transparent and truly democratic electoral process.
The bloodshed is only likely to increase in the next 14 days, and as international observers consider pulling out, things are looking bleak. A lack of or limited coverage of the elections is becoming a very real possibility, and it will be gravely disappointing not only to the world with its eyes intently on Afghanistan, but to the Afghans themselves who deserve, after all they’ve been through, a fair, free, peaceful transfer of power.