Although about $89 billion has been allocated to training the Afghan army, it took just over a month for the Taliban to put it aside.
The defeat of the Afghan armed forces as Taliban fighters capture town in the district after town is an obvious answer to anyone wondering about the success of the two-decade American effort to build a local army.
Although about $89 billion has been allocated to training the Afghan army, it took just over a month for the Taliban to put it aside. In the past few days, insurgents have occupied every major city in Afghanistan - from Kandahar in the south to Mazar-i-Sharif in the north, Herat in the west to Jalalabad in the east.
American officers have long feared that endemic corruption, well-documented in parts of Afghanistan's military and political leadership, would undermine the resolve of poorly paid, malnourished, and frequently unserved front-line soldiers - some of whom were left behind for months or even Years in remote outposts where the Taliban could capture them.
One Taliban commander in the central province of Ghazni said the government forces' collapse started as soon as US forces started withdrawing "as they didn't have any ideology except fleecing the Americans".
"The only reason for this unexpected fall of provinces was our commitment and the withdrawal of US troops," he said.
The defeat underscores the failure of the United States to create a force along the lines of its highly professional military, with motivated and well-trained leadership, high-tech weaponry, and seamless logistical support.
On paper, the Afghan security forces numbered about 300,000 soldiers. In fact, the numbers have never been this high before.
Depending on a small number of elite special forces being pushed from one province to another as more and more cities fell into the hands of the Taliban, the already high desertion rate in the regular army soared.
15 August 2021