The AP: “Afghan government forces are collapsing even faster than U.S. military leaders thought possible.”
This post will be updated at the bottom as new developments are happening quickly.
Less than four weeks ahead of the full U.S. troop withdrawal, the Taliban has reached the outskirts of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul. With Taliban forces marching on the Afghan capital from several directions, the Mujahedeen were now just 7 miles south of Kabul, the Associated Press reported on Saturday.
The Taliban has reportedly seized 19 of country’s 34 regional capitals and other major cities, including the Afghanistan’s second-largest city Kandahar.
Despite Afghan national army’s failure to halt Taliban offensive, country’s President Ashraf Ghani has so far remained defiant. “In the current situation, the remobilization of our security and defense forces is our top priority, and serious steps are being taken in this regard,” Ghani said in a televised address. The Taliban has demanded president’s resignation as a precondition for any formal negotiation.
However, with Taliban now controlling most of Afghanistan, the government in Kabul may not hold for long. The Ghani-led government now only controls two big cities, Kabul and northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif.
The Associated Press reported Taliban’s rapid advance on Kabul:
The Taliban seized two more provinces on Saturday and approached the outskirts of Afghanistan’s capital while also launching a multi-pronged assault on a major northern city defended by former warlords, Afghan officials said.
The insurgents have captured much of northern, western and southern Afghanistan in a breakneck offensive less than three weeks before the United States is set to withdraw its last troops, raising fears of a full militant takeover or another Afghan civil war.
The Taliban captured all of Logar province, just south of the capital, Kabul, and detained local officials, said Hoda Ahmadi, a lawmaker from the province. She said the Taliban have reached the Char Asyab district, just 11 kilometers (7 miles) south of Kabul.
The insurgents also captured the capital of Paktika, bordering Pakistan, according to Khalid Asad, a lawmaker from the province. He said fighting broke out in Sharana early Saturday but ended after local elders intervened to negotiate a pullout. He said the governor and other officials surrendered and were on their way to Kabul.
Afghan Military: The High Cost of Failure
The U.S. and NATO-trained Afghan national army has failed to put up an effective fight in face of the Taliban onslaught. Most of the country has now fallen under the control of the Mujahedeen without any serious resistance from well-equipped government forces. There are reports of government troops surrendering in large numbers to Taliban or running across the border seeking refuge in neighboring countries.
The Afghan military failure comes at a huge price tag. “The United States spent more than $88 billion to train and equip Afghanistan’s army and police, nearly two-thirds of all of its foreign aid to the country since 2002,” the Politico noted on Friday.
The hasty withdrawal ordered by the Biden administration has resulted in U.S. weaponry ending up in Taliban’s hands. “The Taliban seized billions of dollars of US military equipment from Kunduz Airport this week, including Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, drones and humvees, as the militant group has quickly taken control of key cities across the country,” The UK newspaper Independent reported on Friday.
The #Taliban not only seized appr. a hundred US humvees and (MaxxPro) MRAPs at Kunduz airport, but also several US ScanEagle drones.
Billions of US tax payer $ going to Islamist extremists, thanks to the administration's hasty withdrawal without a peace deal or follow up mission. pic.twitter.com/Fb5MTpdLKK
— Julian Röpcke (@JulianRoepcke) August 12, 2021
UN Calls Taliban to Show “Good Faith,” EU Threatens “Isolation”
As jihadis are on the verge of creating another Islamic States, the much-feted international community is failing to show any spine.
The United Nations chief António Guterres urged Taliban to halt the offensive and negotiate in “good faith.” Guterres “on Friday called on Taliban militants to “immediately halt” their offensive against Government forces and return to the negotiating table in good faith, “in the interest of Afghanistan, and its people”,” a UN press statement said.
The UN Security Council is reportedly drafting a strongly-worded condemnation of Taliban’s actions. The 15-member body was still debating on the wordings of the resolution, the Reuters reported on Friday.
The European Union threatened the Taliban with diplomatic ‘isolation’ if its seized the country by force. “If power is taken by force and an Islamic Emirate re-established, the Taliban would face non-recognition, isolation, lack of international support and the prospect of continued conflict and protracted instability in Afghanistan,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell declared.
The most feebly response, however, came from the Biden White House. The administration is pleading Taliban to “spare” the U.S. Embassy in the coming battle for Kabul. “U.S. Asks Taliban to Spare Its Embassy in Coming Fight for Kabul,” a headline in the New York Times said on Thursday.
President Trump: “Do You Miss Me Yet?”
While the mainstream media is silent of President Biden’s disastrous handling of the U.S. troops withdrawal from Afghanistan, former President Donald Trump slammed his successor.
“Tragic mess in Afghanistan, a completely open and broken Border, crime at record levels, oil prices through the roof, inflation rising, and taken advantage of by the entire world—DO YOU MISS ME YET?” the former president said in an short statement published by The New York Post.
The Horror of Sharia Returns
The Taliban, inspired by the Sharia law, is using the same playbook used by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. “Taliban commanders have demanded that communities turn over unmarried women to become “wives” for their fighters,” The Wall Street Journal reported citing local human rights groups.
The Taliban has vowed to reintroduce Sharia and turn the country into an Islamic Emirate. When the Taliban previously ruled the country, “women were banned from work and girls were not allowed to attend school. Women had to cover their face and be accompanied by a male relative outside their homes,” The BBC noted. “Punishments such as stoning to death and amputations were introduced.”
Reports confirm that the last Afghan government bastion, the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, has fallen to Taliban.
“The Taliban have captured a large, heavily defended city in northern Afghanistan in a major setback for the government, and the insurgents are approaching the capital less than three weeks before the U.S. hopes to complete its troop withdrawal,” The AP reported.
Mazar-i-Sharif is the place where CIA officer Johnny “Mike” Spann fell, the first American killed in Afghanistan after 9/11.
BREAKING: President Biden orders 1,000 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne's alert brigade out of Fort Bragg to reinforce U.S. troops in Kabul. 5,000 U.S. forces will now be on the ground to evacuate Americans from Afghanistan.
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) August 14, 2021
US intelligence agencies who said just 4 days ago that Kabul could fall in 90 days have revised the figure to 72 hours
— Bruno Maçães (@MacaesBruno) August 14, 2021
America's suffering one of its worst foreign policy defeats in history and definitely worst in the lifetime of millennials and on down….and all we get from the White House is a tweet of Joe pretending to take notes at Camp David on a video call. https://t.co/eybBp5Ds8q
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) August 14, 2021
Extraordinary scenes of #Afghanistan’s military fleeing to #Iran with advanced equipment, likely supplied by US. Iran’s defense industries will want to get their hands on that equipment pic.twitter.com/0Ei2EgKiQ4
— Jason Brodsky (@JasonMBrodsky) August 14, 2021
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