The United States armed forces have spent 20 years in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban and other terrorists, building roads and schools, training the Afghan military, and trying to create a stable government in a country that has never been a country.
A new U.S. intelligence report now says the 20 years of blood, sweat, and American tax dollars will mean nothing after we withdraw, sometime before September 11. The report gives the Afghan government six months before it’s overthrown by the Taliban.
The U.S. intelligence community concluded last week that the government of Afghanistan could collapse as soon as six months after the American military withdrawal from the country is completed, according to officials with knowledge of the new assessment.
American intelligence agencies revised their previously more optimistic estimates as the Taliban swept through northern Afghanistan last week, seizing dozens of districts and surrounding major cities. Afghan security forces frequently surrendered without a fight, leaving their Humvees and other American-supplied equipment to the insurgents.
The new assessment of the overall U.S. intelligence community, which hasn’t been previously reported, has now aligned more closely with the analysis that had been generated by the U.S. military.
The Taliban offensive is having the expected results on the Afghan military. They are surrendering in droves leaving behind American equipment — including artillery and armored vehicles — for which the Taliban is grateful.
You can’t really blame the Afghan soldiers. In many cases, they haven’t been paid for months. They are poorly led and, quite sensibly, see nothing to fight for any longer.
U.S. intelligence experts had believed the government of President Ashraf Ghani, who is slated to meet President Biden in Washington on Friday to discuss continued American support for Afghanistan, could survive as long as two years once the U.S. withdrawal is completed. That is roughly the same interval that elapsed between the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam and the fall of Saigon in April 1975.
The latest view of intelligence analysts and senior U.S. military officials, however, is that the government of Afghanistan and its capital, Kabul, could fall between six and 12 months after American forces depart, according to officials.
Any comparison of the exit from Afghanistan to the exit from Vietnam is superficial. Different time, different place, different war.
Biden is taking credit for the fact that the Taliban is not targeting American troops in their offensive.
The U.S. is pulling out from Afghanistan, ending the country’s longest overseas war, as a result of the February 2020 agreement that the Trump administration negotiated with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that, while Taliban attacks on Afghan forces are increasing, there has been no such rise in attacks on American troops. “Had we not begun to draw down, violence would have increased against us as well,” she said. “So the status quo, in our view, was not an option.”
Or perhaps the Taliban doesn’t want to tweak the tail of a lion that’s walking away from them. There is absolutely zero evidence for Psaki’s statement that the “violence would have increased against us” if we weren’t running away. Chances are pretty good that without a withdrawal announcement, the Taliban wouldn’t have started an offensive in the first place.
It was past time to leave Afghanistan. The Taliban was always going to win in the end. The best that can be hoped for is saving the lives of those brave Afghans who risked their lives to assist the U.S. mission. It is they we should be trying to save, not the corrupt kleptocrats who are running Afghanistan now.