KANDHAR: The surrenders appear to be occurring as quick because the Taliban can journey. In the previous a number of days, Afghan safety forces have collapsed in a number of cities beneath the stress of a Taliban advance. The offensive has resulted in mass surrenders, captured helicopters and thousands and thousands of {dollars} of US-provided gear. This implosion comes regardless of the US having poured over $83 billion in weapons, gear and coaching into the nation’s safety forces over 20 years.
It started with particular person outposts in rural areas the place ravenous and ammunition-depleted troopers had been surrounded by Taliban fighters and promised protected passage in the event that they surrendered and left behind their gear. As posts collapsed, the criticism was the identical: There was no air help or they’d run out of provides and meals.
But even earlier than that, the systemic weaknesses of the Afghan safety forces — which on paper numbered someplace round 300,000 folks, however in latest days have totalled round only one-sixth of that, in keeping with US officers — had been obvious. These shortfalls might be traced to quite a few points that sprung from the West’s insistence on constructing a completely trendy military with all of the logistical and provide complexities, and which has proved unsustainable with out the US and its Nato allies.
Soldiers and policemen have expressed resentment of the Afghan management. Officials turned a blind eye to what was occurring understanding full properly that the Afghan forces’ actual manpower depend was far decrease than what was on the books, skewed by corruption. In interview after interview, troopers and law enforcement officials described moments of despair and emotions of abandonment.
On one entrance line in Kandahar, the Afghan safety forces’ lack of ability to fend off the Taliban got here right down to potatoes. After weeks of preventing, one field full of slimy potatoes was imagined to go as a unit’s every day rations. “These french fries are not going to hold these front lines!” an officer yelled. By Thursday, the road collapsed, and Kandahar was in Taliban management by Friday.


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