A woman and child were killed and 40 civilians were injured in a brazen bomb and gun attack on the Afghan parliament in Kabul. A suicide car bomber and six gunmen were also killed in the attack. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and said it was timed to coincide with the appearance in parliament of Afghanistan’s new defence minister Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai. This attack was only to send out a warning to the new man in charge of what he is up against.

The attack also raises new questions over Afghanistan ability to maintain security without Nato’s help. Over the weekend Taliban forces took control of Chardara district in Kunduz. The Taliban have also emerged as a political force, using both politics and violence to get to their goals. Some senior Taliban figures entered talks in Qatar and in the past few months have been in talks with the Afghan government. The hope was that given actual political space, the groups would have a non-violent means to negotiate their demands, but this was too much to ask from the gun-toting militia. The government should not have expected anything from a group that is open about is desire to destroy the government and Afghan democracy; Pakistan has learnt this the hard way. The Parliament is no small target, this is an act of war against the state. Unless the Taliban are destroyed, they will keep killing. In war, the most dangerous outcome is to wound an adversary and not finish the job, because when they come back, they will do the finishing. Three trillion dollars has been funnelled into Afghanistan since 9/11 and there is nothing to show for it.

The Afghan government was very angry at the opening of Taliban office in Qatar in 2013, which was subsequently closed. Taliban negotiators continue to live in Doha. Now there is again lobbying to reopen this chapter and the office, as part of a “peace process”. At an international conference in Norway last week, the head of Taliban’s political office Sayed Tayyeb Agha said the group had the right to call themselves the “Islamic Emirate” and use its flag at their office. These are not designs that should be encouraged during any talks, and it is unfortunate that Qatar has allowed such anti-Afghan activity to be fostered on its soil. The Taliban cannot be allowed to carve out their own state like IS has in Iraq. They need to be dealt with a heavy hand, and with haste.