Afghanistan’s rapid surrender to Taliban was due to Biden’s withdrawal of US troops, watchdog says


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The surprisingly rapid collapse of the Afghan army in the face of Taliban forces last summer, which surprised combat experts, was mainly due to the withdrawal of American troops, a US monitoring group has said.

In a report released on Tuesday, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, said the withdrawal had “destroyed” the morale of Afghan forces and left them without vital air support in their struggle to prevent Afghanistan from falling to the Taliban, Reuters reported.

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The report pointed out that the withdrawal of American troops was a condition of an agreement reached and signed by the Trump administration in February 2020 and then executed by the Biden administration.

“SIGAR found that the most significant factor in the collapse of the ANDSF (Afghan National Defense and Security Forces) in August 2021 was the US decision to withdraw military forces and contractors from Afghanistan by signing the US-Taliban agreement in February 2020 under the Trump administration, followed by the announcement of President Biden’s withdrawal in April 2021,” the report said.

Taliban fighters escort women during a march in support of the Taliban government outside Kabul University, Afghanistan. A New York man was convicted last week of attempting to provide support to the terror group.
(AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

The Withdrawal Agreement also limited the use of airstrikes by US ephemeral forces.

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“The limitation of airstrikes after the signing of the US-Taliban agreement the following year left the ANDSF without a key advantage in keeping the Taliban at bay,” said John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Reconstruction. of Afghanistan, according to the report.

A Taliban fighter secures the area as people line up to receive cash during a cash distribution organized by the World Food Program (WFP) in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/ Petros Giannakouris)

A Taliban fighter secures the area as people line up to receive cash during a cash distribution organized by the World Food Program (WFP) in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/ Petros Giannakouris)
(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

“Many Afghans thought the US-Taliban deal was an act of bad faith and a signal that the US was handing Afghanistan over to the enemy as it rushed out of the country,” Sopko added.

The Afghan government surrendered to the Taliban after just over a week of fighting.

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At the time, President Biden championed the US withdrawal, which ended more than 20 years of fighting by US troops in the country. The United States is also said to have spent over $80 billion on the war effort.

“Our military commanders informed me that once I had made the decision to end the war, we had to act quickly to complete the main elements of the withdrawal. And in this context, speed is security. “, Biden said in July 2021, before the August withdrawal.

In this photo provided by the Department of Defense, US troops are shown helping people to safety.

In this photo provided by the Department of Defense, US troops are shown helping people to safety.
(Department of Defense)

After Afghanistan surrendered to the Taliban, Biden again defended his decision.

“An extra year or five years of American military presence wouldn’t have made a difference if the Afghan army couldn’t or wouldn’t hold its own country,” Biden said in August 2021.

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Biden was widely criticized for the withdrawal and he blamed President Trump.

“When I came to power, I inherited an agreement made by my predecessor – which he invited the Taliban to discuss at Camp David on the eve of September 11, 2019 – which left the Taliban in the strongest position. militarily strong since 2001 and imposed a May 1, 2021 deadline for U.S. forces,” Biden said during a speech in August 2021. “Shortly before leaving office, he also reduced U.S. forces to a bare minimum of 2,500.”

“So when I became president, I was faced with a choice: follow through on the agreement, with a short extension to get our forces and those of our allies out safely, or step up our presence and send more American troops to fight again in another country’s civil conflict,” he said.


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