The President’s Decision Joe biden Withdrawing from Afghanistan this summer has raised deep fears about the ability of the Afghan security forces to defend territory that remains under government control.
For almost two decades, United States and NATO have dedicated themselves to nation building, training, expanding and equipping Afghanistan’s police, military and air forces, spending tens of billions of dollars in an attempt to create government security forces that can safeguard their own country.
Taliban fighters stand guard at a checkpoint in the city of Kunduz. Photo AP Photo / Abdullah Sahil.
But interviews conducted in April with two dozen government and security officials, military and police officers, and militia commanders from across the country described an outcome. somber:
Despite this enormous effort, the company has produced only a troublesome set of forces that are unprepared to take on the Taliban, or any other threat, alone.
In the months that followed, it became clear that Afghan forces deployed across the country could not stop the Taliban offensive that took about half of Afghanistan’s 400 districts as it swept across the country this summer.
In the last few days alone, the insurgents have seized four of the 34 capitals of the country’s province: Zaranj, Sheberghan, Sar-e-Pul and Kunduz.
It is easy to portray the Afghan army and police as corrupt, predatory and ineffective, as they sometimes are.
But those same forces have suffered terribly, far more than Westerners, in what often seems like a lost war of attrition.
Numerous outposts and bases have surrendered following negotiations between the Taliban and government forces, according to village elders and government officials.
With morale low as American troops leave, and the Taliban seize each surrender as a propaganda victory, each collapse fueling the next in the Afghan countryside.
The Taliban have negotiated the surrender of Afghan troops in the past, but never at the scale and pace of base collapses in recent months.
The tactic has withdrawn hundreds of government forces from the battlefield, secured strategic territory and harvested weapons, ammunition and vehicles for the Taliban, often without firing a single shot.
As the country districts collapse, the Taliban have begun to encroach major cities such as Herat in the west and Kandahar in the south.
This multiple attack has exhausted the Afghan commandos and the air forces, the two most viable units in the Afghan army, fighting to counter insurgents in most of the country.
The United States, despite having pledged to end military operations by August 31, has pledged more planes and drones – now based outside the country – to help repel the Taliban through airstrikes.
The latest effort to shore up Afghan security forces helped in some areas, but even so provincial capitals fell.
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