US withdrawal prompted collapse of Afghan army: Report | News

The withdrawal of US forces and army contractors final yr has been touted as “the one most necessary issue” in triggering the collapse of the Afghan Nationwide Protection and Safety Forces (ANDSF), in line with an interim report by america authorities’s main oversight authority on Afghanistan reconstruction.

Washington has spent almost $90bn on the Afghan military since 2002 in its efforts to combat the Taliban armed revolt. The Taliban regime was toppled from energy in a US-led invasion in 2001 within the wake of the 9/11 assaults.

The brand new report by the Particular Inspector Common for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) factors to selections made by former US President Donald Trump and his successor Joe Biden as having precipitated the collapse of the Afghan military in August 2021 and the following Taliban takeover.

The US-Taliban settlement signed by the Trump administration in February 2020, by which Washington agreed to withdraw army forces and contractors from Afghanistan, “set in movement a sequence of occasions essential to understanding the ANDSF’s collapse”, the report stated.

Following the deal, the US dramatically decreased the variety of US air raids, leaving the ANDSF with no key benefit in protecting the Taliban at bay. This resulted in “a way of abandonment throughout the ANDSF and the Afghan inhabitants”.

“Many Afghans thought the US-Taliban settlement was an act of dangerous religion and a sign that the US was handing over Afghanistan to the enemy because it rushed to exit the nation,” SIGAR concluded.

Withdrawal of the contractors grounded the Afghan air drive

Former US and Afghan army officers are quoted within the interim report saying the withdrawal of the contractors grounded the Afghan air drive and sealed their destiny.

“We constructed that [Afghan] military to run on contractor help. With out it, it could actually’t perform,” one former US commander in Afghanistan advised SIGAR.

“When the contractors pulled out, it was like we pulled all of the stands proud of the Jenga pile and anticipated it to remain up.”

A former Afghan common advised SIGAR that 60 p.c of Black Hawk helicopters have been grounded in a matter of months within the wake of the withdrawal of contractors, together with those that offered upkeep work.

In March 2021, because the incoming Biden administration deliberated its Afghanistan coverage, the Taliban threatened to renew assaults in opposition to US and NATO forces if they didn’t withdraw by Might 1.

President Biden’s withdrawal announcement in April 2021 “destroyed ANDSF morale”, SIGAR discovered, as its officers had lengthy relied on the US army’s presence to guard in opposition to large-scale losses and maintain their authorities accountable for paying their salaries.

By August 15, 2021, when the Taliban reached the gates of the capital Kabul, six of the seven corps of the Afghan military had surrendered or dissolved.

“These US selections had the extra impression of offering gas for the Taliban propaganda machine. For ANDSF forces already bodily remoted, dealing with provide shortages, and weathering aggressive Taliban propaganda efforts geared toward demoralising them, paranoia … exacerbated an already difficult atmosphere,” SIGAR discovered.

The US Division of State declined to remark to SIGAR on the report, and the US Company for Worldwide Improvement didn’t have any feedback.

Elements that contributed to the ANDSF’s collapse

The oversight authority additionally recognized a number of elements that specify why, after 20 years and almost $90bn in US safety help, the ANDSF was ill-prepared to maintain safety following a US withdrawal.

Amongst them is an estimate of the size of the US time dedication that was “disconnected from the truth”; long-term dependencies corresponding to the supply of superior gear that would not be sustained; the dearth of metrics created to successfully measure ANDSF capabilities and Afghan authorities corruption.

SIGAR discovered the ANDSF to have remained reliant on the US army partly as a result of the US designed the ANDSF as a mirror picture of US forces. “The US created a mixed arms army construction that required a excessive diploma {of professional} army sophistication and management,” the report stated.

As a result of US troops have been far simpler at combating, they usually led missions or crammed important gaps in missions on the expense of the ANDSF gaining expertise combating by itself.

Moreover, reasonably than growing a nationwide safety technique and planning for nationwide safety following the withdrawal of US forces, the federal government of former President Ashraf Ghani modified ANDSF leaders and appointed loyalists, marginalising well-trained ANDSF officers aligned with the US.

SIGAR stated it had discovered the Taliban to be utilizing US-provided army gear, whereas some US-provided plane have been recovered and others stay in limbo in different nations.

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