It seems like an odd time of the year to be predicting a major escalation in violence in Afghanistan, given that violence usually drops quite dramatically with the beginning of winter, but UN envoy to Afghanistan Staffan de Mistura insisted today that there probably would be a short term, major escalation.
“We are detecting from the anti-government elements an attempt to show, on their side, spectacular attacks,” Mistura insisted, adding that a political settlement with the Taliban was vital to the stability of Afghanistan.
“Everyone recognizes there is no military solution. Frankly, even the Taliban do, even if they will not say this publicly,” Mistura added. This has certainly been the case for both sides of combatants, which despite spiraling death tolls all around are forever claiming progress and predicting victory just over the horizon.
Indeed Mistura’s comments were dismissed by Afghanistan’s ambassador to the UN, who insisted that overall security was improving and said any attacks would be “isolated” incidents. This seems a tough claim to make, given the record death tolls, but has become an all-too-common one as 2010 comes to a close.