Feb. 9, 2017
The number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan last year was the highest since 2009 when the United Nations started tracking that number, adding to concerns about the deteriorating security situation in the war-torn country.
On Tuesday, a suicide attack left nearly 60 people dead or injured. Then on Wednesday, 6 were killed in the nation's capital. The UN said this week that more than 11,000 civilians were killed or injured last year.
“I’m deeply saddened to report yet another increase in civilian causalities,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN secretary-general's special representative for Afghanistan.
The resurgence of the Taliban is seen as a main cause -- fierce battles between Taliban fighters and government troops have occurred throughout country.
Meanwhile, Islamic State militants have expanded their control in parts of the country by filling the vacuum left by the 2 sides. The group has carried out a series of terrorist attacks.
Last week, 3 Afghans visited Japan to talk about the devastation their homeland faces. They were invited by the Japan International Volunteer Center and spoke at an event about how to proceed with recovery efforts.
"My son died in my arms," one of the Afghan men told the audience.
They said the decline in public security is a threat to every Afghan citizen.
Dr. Abdul Wahab took the podium, and appealed to the world to continue to engage with Afghanistan.
"International society is going to forget about Afghanistan, but Afghanistan is still in need," he said.
We sat down with Dr. Wahab to get his view of what's happening.
"We suffer from this kind of incident, when explosions happen, when you see there are children killed in explosions, women killed in explosions," he said. "In our village, as well in other areas, there are dead bodies."
Wahab lives with his wife and 6 children outside the city of Jalalabad. He says the worsening security situation has made it difficult to serve as a doctor.
“There are villages in which people don’t want to work as a doctor, as a teacher, because they’re afraid if they go there the security’s not good. There are different army groups, so he will be kidnapped or killed,” Wahab says. "I cannot imagine who will arrest me, who will kidnap me, who will kill me. Even if I don’t have any relation with any group -- not the Afghanistan military side or opposition group -- still I’m afraid. I can't serve."
The clinic Wahab worked at was operated with the support of international community that started after 2002. Centered around the clinic, Wahab gathers local people to raise awareness of health issues, such as teaching residents how to prevent disease by washing their hands.
But now, as security deteriorates, Wahab is concerned that the situation will return to the way it was before 2000.
"We had clinics but because of this conflict situation some of our clinics are closed. As I mentioned, the fear of a teacher going to school -- so if this situation continues, our achievement will be lost and we will go back to the previous situation," Wahab says.
At the moment, several militant groups are waging battles and dividing communities.
"We can hear Taliban radio and IS radio. They’re broadcasting their radio information. They’re motivating or encouraging people to join them. They’re also sometimes doing this to spread fear among the people," Wahab says. "And mostly, they’re trying to destroy the unity of the people as well. They’re killing those who can lead their communities."
He's calling for people to come together so that armed groups will not infiltrate his community.
"We started discussing with the community about their difficulties and how they can respond to their difficulties by themselves, like if there is conflict, personal dispute matters between some villagers, they have to invite both parties to start discussions," Wahab says. "If they solve personal disputes in their community, their unity will be strengthened, and nobody can easily destroy their unity."
Koichiro Tanaka, an expert on Afghanistan from the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan, joins anchor Sho Beppu in the studio. To see the full interview please click on the video above.