The Taliban managed to take over large areas of Afghanistan, and they are on the verge of taking the control of Kabul. But Kabul has not fallen yet completely as relatively small areas around it are still under the control of the Afghan government.
The Taliban took control of those parts of the country during a record period, coinciding with the United States’ announcement of the withdrawal of its combat forces from them, in an operation that would continue until the end of August, which raised the astonishment of observers of the developments in the strength of the rebel movement.
The Afghan army numbers at least 350,000 soldiers, who have been trained and equipped as best as possible by the United States and its allies, raising expectations that they will be a powerful deterrent to Taliban insurgents.
“Everyone gave up their weapons and fled,” said a 25-year-old soldier who served in Badakhshan province, Rahimullah, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“We did not receive any help from the central government, so the state fell without a fight,” Rahimullah added.
Since the United States began its withdrawal, Afghan forces have experienced a “humiliating collapse”, according to the newspaper, with the loss of most of the country’s territory and critical major cities.
The newspaper said that the Taliban, who fought with fewer fighters, and until recently were without armor and heavy weapons, are now on the outskirts of Kabul.
According to the newspaper, the failure of the Afghan forces is linked to their formation in a manner commensurate with the modus operandi of the American forces, which have been providing them with continuous support.
As the newspaper described, by the time the Taliban began their move, the Afghan army was so frustrated that it offered little resistance.
The newspaper pointed out that the US military relies heavily on a combination of ground operations and airpower, and the use of aircraft to supply forward positions, strike targets, transport the wounded, reconnaissance and gather intelligence, which is something that the Afghan army cannot do alone at present.
The withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan included the withdrawal of US air support, which means “the Afghan army is simply no longer able to operate,” according to the newspaper.
“When you build an army like that, with the intent of partnering with a force as advanced as the Americans, you can’t pull the Americans out all of a sudden,” said Daniel Bolger, a retired US general who led the mission to train Afghan forces.
According to the newspaper, the Afghan government, before the withdrawal of US forces, sought to strengthen its presence in remote rural areas through more than 200 bases and sites, to which supplies can only be delivered by air.
Afghan Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar, who was a national security advisor and interior minister, said in an interview that the army was dependent on logistical air support. major population centers.
The newspaper pointed out that when the Taliban launched their offensive, in May, they focused on sweeping those isolated outposts, killing the soldiers who resisted them, and providing a safe exit for those who surrendered, and even giving pocket money to some who had not received their salaries for months.
The newspaper also pointed out that Afghanistan recently handed over the command of the army’s operations to the former ambassador, Hamdullah Mohib, during this sensitive period, despite his lack of military experience.
“What changed between February 2020 and Mr. Biden’s announcement of the withdrawal was the cessation of US air strikes that were inflicting heavy losses on the insurgent fighters,” the newspaper quoted Andrew Watkins, senior analyst on Afghanistan at the International Crisis Group, as saying.