The withdrawal of U.S. troops is about to be completed with the handover of Bagram Airfield to the Afghan army. The U.S. military completes its withdrawal from Afghanistan two months ahead of President Biden‘s September 11 deadline.
There are still 1,000 members of the U.S. military remaining in Afghanistan, including the commander of the American contingent in Afghanistan, Gen. Austin Scott Miller, who oversees the remaining U.S. and Turkish troops still guarding Kabul International Airport and the remaining mission personnel. The U.S. plans to leave about 600 troops in Kabul to protect the American embassy in the country.
With the withdrawal of the last American contingent from Afghan territory, almost 20 years of occupation by U.S.-led coalition forces come to an end. On October 7, 2001, the United States officially began its invasion of Afghanistan after proving the link between the Taliban regime and the September 11 attacks.
Since the overthrow of the Taliban regime, Afghanistan has been a country in constant conflict with various paramilitary groups fighting the security forces and the Afghan army established under the US-backed government.
With the withdrawal of U.S. troops, the Afghan government could fall in a matter of months
The United States is not leaving Afghanistan in much better shape than it was found, General Miller himself warned that the Muslim country could descend into a chaotic civil war once American troops withdraw completely.
In recent days Taliban groups seized three more provinces and are within a few kilometers of Kabul and control several roads connecting the north and south of the capital to the rest of the country.
“The security situation is not good,” Miller said, referring to the increasing losses of territory the Afghan government troops have suffered to the Taliban in recent months.
According to some estimates, the Taliban control 140 of the 370 districts of the country and would have influence or presence in other 170 additional districts, that is to say, the Taliban are present in almost 84% of the Afghan territory.
The Taliban offensive has wreaked havoc on the Afghan defense forces, which are often poorly paid and supplied so that desertions are common and often end up joining the mujahideen side.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the latest intelligence reports indicate that Kabul could fall into Taliban hands within 6 to 12 months after the departure of American troops.
With the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, the United States ends its participation in the longest conflict in which its military forces have been involved. The withdrawal came as a result of the 2020 agreement between the Trump administration and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar.
According to the Doha agreement, the Taliban should begin peace talks with the government, however, the negotiations have not yielded any results and the Afghan government does not expect any considerable progress in the coming months.
The Taliban for their part have claimed “victory and triumph” during this last month and the beginning of the “end of the evils that were born out of the occupation”. The insurgents have promised to respect the lives of Afghan government troops who surrender.
The Afghan government could fall in a few months, but the Taliban are far from controlling the entire country
Although there have been voices of resistance to the Taliban approach, such as the former mujahideen leader Atta Mohammad, who was a member of the northern alliance (a resistance movement to the pre-occupation Taliban government), this seems to be an armed focus of resistance independent of the government forces and undermining the authority of Ashraf Ghani’s government.
Ghani’s government has been characterized by its claudicating attitude towards the Taliban to whom it has offered from Afghan passports to recognition as a political force; unfortunately few concessions have been received by the Taliban in return.
With the loss of authority of the Ghani administration, anti-Taliban militias have begun to form across the country and last week in the city of Mazar-i-Shariff armed militias under the command of Generals Mohad and Mohammed Mohaqiq were seen.
With the uprising of the former mujahideen leaders and the once Northern Alliance, complete domination of Afghanistan by Taliban groups will not be possible, however, an era of civil war could await the country once again.