Taliban forces are gaining momentum, pushing the Afghanistan government’s forces out of several districts and taking control of various weapons and military vehicles in the process, while the U.S. withdraws from the country.
Insurgents have taken 900 guns, 70 sniper rifles, and 65 vehicles, Sky News reported. While this happens, the Afghanistan government continues to lose territory, having already left seven districts as the Taliban assumes control.
U.S. Central Command announced Tuesday that the drawdown is more than 90% complete and handed over seven facilities to the Afghan military.
So far, more than 1,000 members of Afghanistan’s military have fled the country, crossing over into Tajikistan, Reuters reported. This led Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon to mobilize 20,000 military reservists to strengthen the border.
The deterioration of the situation on the ground and the resurgence of the Taliban comes nearly 20 years after the U.S. and international forces entered Afghanistan to oust the Taliban, which had harbored Usama bin Laden. President Biden’s plan is to fully withdraw from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, on the 20th anniversary of the Al Qaeda attacks on the U.S. planned by bin Laden that led to the lengthy war.
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, lambasted Biden’s insistence on completing the withdrawal by Sept. 11, 2021, which is little over three months away, saying that it would lead to the Taliban taking more aggressive actions.
“We can’t ignore the reality on the ground in Afghanistan,” Ernst wrote in a Fox News op-ed. “Many of the threats that brought us there in the first place are spreading through the region.”
The Associated Press reported that the U.S. did not even tell Afghanistan when they were departing the Bagram Airfield. After controlling the space for roughly 20 years, American forces shut off the electricity and left at night without informing the base’s new Afghan commander, the AP reported.
Afghan military officials said looters came in and damaged the base before Afghanistan’s army could assume control.
Former President Trump’s plan would have had U.S. forces leave even sooner, as he had agreed to withdraw by May 1 of this year. Biden pushed that deadline off by several months.
Former assistant secretary of state Robert Charles, who served under President George W. Bush, told Fox News that if Trump had managed “to secure a peace accord that he was on track to secure,” the situation would be different now.
Charles called the current situation “a layered security failure,” pointing to the lack of American ability to keep terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda and ISIS at bay and the departure of an American carrier from the western Pacific, which he said allows China to enter and assume control of resources.
“It’s sort of a public relations disaster, a physical security disaster, and a foreign policy disaster,” Charles said.