Hollie McKay, a foreign policy expert and war crimes investigator who covered war, terrorism, and crimes against humanity for Fox News Digital for more than a decade, is reporting today from Afghanistan that the Taliban is paying off military commanders to abandon their posts and surrender their cities.
McKay made the shocking claim during an Instagram interview with SmartHERNews host Jenna Lee Babin, which she posted to our sister site RedState on Sunday afternoon.
She described the conditions in Mazar, prior to its fall on Saturday: “Friday, things had shifted and you could just feel it. There was a sense of fear, people were like, ‘they’re coming, they’re coming.'” McKay at first thought they were exaggerating, as shops were still open and people were milling about in the streets. That quickly changed. “Saturday it was just a ghost town. People were lining up at banks to get their monies out.”
“And then it was gone, just like that” after the Taliban rode in on motorbikes, celebrating their victory. “They came in without any resistance. There was no fight to this. There was very little gunfire that we heard.”
“It was a big celebration throughout the night last night where we could hear them… some of them had gotten ahold of police cars and were enjoying the sirens,” she said.
McKay said corruption was largely to blame for the fall of city after city to the Taliban.
“The level of corruption within the Afghanistan military and the government, that’s how the Taliban won a lot of this, is they would pay the commanders off to surrender a city before,” she explained. “So those who genuinely do want to fight—and there are a lot of men that wanted to genuinely fight—were kept in the dark and ANA [Afghan National Army] commanders were basically paid off in advance to surrender the city and they were left with no choice but ‘you have no choice but to basically run.'”
“The level of corruption that has enabled the Taliban to come back to power is just mind-blowing,” she explained. “To see that and to see all the weapons that have gone to the Taliban’s hands when the Afghan army runs away—that we paid for.”
“I always saw terrorism to be a secondary problem to the corruption,” McKay continued. “Afghanistan is a classic example of that. You have many elements that are pro-Taliban within the government and military factions that will sell off information that hurts the cause.”
“If you have to pay a corrupt official every time you go through a checkpoint and you’re just trying to feed your family, you have to pay a bribe for something, eventually you’re going to get annoyed enough that you are going to want to join some sort of insurgency to fight against that,” she said.
McKay said that while there have been no reports of violence, “I’ve only seen one woman out of the house and she was fully covered.” Although she’s in an area controlled by the Taliban, for the moment she is safe. “I will hopefully, as soon as possible, be getting to Kabul.”
Watch the interview here:
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