Withdrawal of US troops was made on the basis of reports indicating that the Afghan army would resist the Taliban.
The speed with which the Taliban dominated the main cities of Afghanistan until reaching the capital, Kabul, taken last Sunday as thousands of people sought to flee the site, highlighted serious failures in the assessment and communication of intelligence agencies and the US government.
According to a New York Times report, the CIA and other agencies had been warning of a possible risk that the Afghan army would succumb to the Taliban offensive. However, none of them were able to predict that the fall would happen so quickly.
In July, amid the withdrawal of US troops, which began to be planned under the Trump administration and carried out under the Biden administration, there was a warning that there might be a collapse of the Afghan government, but it was too late.
When decisions were made, the consensus among agencies was that Kabul could withstand up to two years of Taliban advances. What was not taken into account was that the local army, trained for years and much better equipped than the militants, would abandon the fight with practically no resistance.
A government source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the newspaper that even in July there was no warning about a clear scenario that predicted what happened in recent weeks. What agencies predicted, even before withdrawal negotiations began, was that the Taliban would be victorious, but with resistance from the Afghan army.
As the Taliban advanced through the territory, taking over more and more cities, reports of desertion and abandonment by soldiers increased. A report by the CIA last month indicated that the main roads leading to Kabul had been dominated by extremists and that a siege was imminent, but the forecast for a fall was unclear.
“Most of the assessments done in the US inside and outside the US government were focused on how the Afghan security forces would perform in a fight against the Taliban. And in reality, they never really fought,” explained Seth Jones, an expert at the CSIS (Center for International Strategic Studies) in Washington.
The newspaper also noted that the 2001 US takeover of Afghanistan itself had a similar but reversed dynamic. Seeing that the US government-backed militias were advancing, the Taliban themselves abandoned the fight. Some surrendered, some deserted, and most simply mingled with the civilian population.
Source: with Agencies