Taliban seizing Afghanistan after poorly managed U.S. withdrawal

Taliban seizing Afghanistan after poorly managed U.S. withdrawal
Taliban fighters. AP video

The anti-American Taliban are seizing control of Afghanistan, and committing war crimes such as mass murder and rape, after U.S. troops suddenly pulled out, leaving billions of dollars worth of military equipment to be seized by the enemy. “America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan has been as poorly managed as possible,” reports The Dispatch. The loss of “Afghanistan is a failure of military intelligence — and common sense.”

On July 8, President Biden foolishly downplayed the likelihood of a Taliban victory, citing the supposed superiority of the Afghan military over the Taliban. He claimed that the prospect of “the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.” Secretary of State Blinken suggested that the departure of U.S. troops would not lead to an “immediate deterioration in the situation.”

Since then, the Taliban and al Qaeda have overrun most of the country, easily defeating the Afghan military. In the past week alone, the Taliban seized 16 Afghan provincial capitals, and the Afghan capital, Kabul, is likely to fall within a month.

Contrary to Biden’s claims, the Afghans did not have “300,000 well-equipped troops” ready to fight the Taliban. Nor did the Taliban have just 75,000 men, as he claimed. As the Taliban prepares to take over most of the country, “it is obvious that Biden” and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff “grossly miscalculated,” notes The Dispatch: Their estimates “were worthless. They had no idea what they were talking about.”

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As The Dispatch further notes, “There were plenty of warning signs. According to the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction,” “‘Afghan security forces are not yet capable of securing their own nation'” from the Taliban. “Corruption, attrition, poor management and the issue of “ghost soldiers”—or troops who were on the payroll, but didn’t really exist—have plagued” the Afghan Army. “America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan has been as poorly managed as possible…the U.S. wasted much time in servile diplomacy with the Taliban, which undermined Kabul’s legitimacy and puffed up the jihadists’ cause.” In their blindness:

[The] U.S. and Afghan governments apparently did not see the jihadists’ offensive coming. The Defense and State Departments were heavily invested in the idea that a negotiated political settlement was not only possible, but also the only path forward. This was rubbish. While American officials were prattling on about how there is “no military solution” for the war, the Taliban and al-Qaeda were planning their conquest –their own military solution…it [is] the biggest military-intelligence failure since the Tet offensive in 1968…it was also just a failure of common sense.

U.S. troops left behind billions of dollars worth of military equipment that was seized by nearby Taliban, in their abrupt and poorly organized departure. Julian Röpcke reports that the Taliban “not only seized” around “a hundred US humvees and (MaxxPro) MRAPs [mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles] at Kunduz airport, but also several US ScanEagle drones. Billions of US taxpayer dollars going to Islamist extremists, thanks to the administration’s hasty withdrawal without a peace deal or follow up mission.” He says the “sheer amount of vehicles raises the question if anyone ever used them after they were paid and transferred by the US … Now every Taliban fighter gets his own Ford, Toyota, Humvee or MRAP.”

The U.S. is now pleading with the Taliban to spare the U.S. embassy when the Taliban seizes Afghan capital. Yet, as the anti-Trump publication The Bullwark notes:

Stubbornly, Biden is refusing to admit the disaster that is plainly unfolding. It turns out that there never was a there never was a contingency plan for the pullout…The Afghans were not warned to prepare for what was to come. Quite the opposite, they found out like the rest of us, from their televisions, at a time when a third of their air force was down, and remains down, due to parts shortages. President Biden, however, could have prepared. He had access to all the secret intelligence he needed, which the Department of Defense used to warn him about the inevitable catastrophe….Afghan provinces have been falling to the Taliban like dominos. Men of the Afghan military are reportedly being executed. Women and young girls are being forced into marriage and sex slavery. And the same Biden administration that prides itself on its concern for social justice, racial justice, gender justice, and LGBT pride is going to stand by and watch girls’ schools shut down, ethnic cleansing against Shi’ite Hazaras, and homosexuals stoned to death.

The Taliban is capturing even areas where the populace hates the Taliban (like those populated by Tajik and Uzbek minorities), which could have been held if Afghan troops and U.S. resources had been put there, rather than being wasted on trying to hold Afghanistan’s pro-Taliban south. The south is inhabitated by the Pashtun, the ethnic group the Taliban came from, and the historically dominant ethnic group in Afghanistan.

U.S. and Afghan government resources were wasted on trying to holding anti-American southern cities like Kandahar — the historical seat of the Pashtun people — and Lashkar Gah, whose populations are much more pro-Taliban than cities in the north and west of Afghanistan.

As a result, less resources were put into protecting northern and western provinces that are less pro-Taliban, like Badakhshan province, which is mostly composed of the Tajik ethnic group, and Kunduz province, which is 70% non-Pashtun. As a consequence, the Taliban was able to swiftly seize the capitals of these provinces, which fell like dominoes.

The U.S. and Afghan governments should have focused on protecting ethnic minority areas that don’t want to be ruled by the Taliban, rather than on controlling Pashtun areas that often prefer to be ruled by the Taliban rather than the Afghan government. But our government lacked the common sense to pursue that policy.

Hans Bader

Hans Bader

Hans Bader practices law in Washington, D.C. After studying economics and history at the University of Virginia and law at Harvard, he practiced civil-rights, international-trade, and constitutional law. He also once worked in the Education Department. Hans writes for CNSNews.com and has appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.” Contact him at hfb138@yahoo.com

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