Taliban Sweeps Through Afghanistan, Kabul In Sight
Taliban Sweeps Through Afghanistan, Kabul In Sight
Shock of shocks, the Taliban is taking over Afghanistan at a record pace.
The United States is almost entirely hands-off at the moment, aside from a few airstrikes, as the Taliban has been running around recapturing territory. On Sunday, they managed to take control of three provincial capitals in a single day. As the week has progressed, the situation is looking worse and worse.
— Bill Roggio (@billroggio) August 11, 2021
The Taliban have been waiting for this chance for years.
The Taliban’s swift takeover of swaths of Afghanistan, plotted for years, hinged on staging forces around the country ready to move on provincial capitals as soon as the U.S.-led coalition announced its exit, according to Pentagon officials.”
After May 1, when the U.S. withdrawal began, those Taliban forces that had been lying in wait began fighting Afghan forces and intimidating local leaders in an effort to control district centers, the nation’s basic administrative units. In April, the Taliban controlled 73 districts—out of 421 nationwide. By August, insurgents controlled 222 and were contesting another 114.”
With the districts in their hands, the Taliban surrounded many provincial capitals and began tightening the noose, the U.S. officials said. Among the major centers that have fallen since Friday’s offensive is the northern city of Kunduz. Others appeared vulnerable to collapse.”
Afghanistan moved some of its special forces to fend off attacks on Lashkar Gah, Herat and Kandahar last week, a diversion that allowed the Taliban to take control of other provincial capitals, U.S. defense officials said.”
Each time a provincial capital falls, the Taliban gain a psychological victory, the defense officials said. They also pick up arms and equipment left behind or won from Afghan national security forces, and open prisons, freeing inmates to join their cause, the officials said.”
Well, Lashkar Gah, as of this morning, is falling into Taliban hands.
The fighting around Lashkar Gah has raged for weeks. On Wednesday, a suicide car bombing marked the latest wave to target the capital’s regional police headquarters. By Thursday, the Taliban had taken the building, with some police officers surrendering to the militants and others retreating to the nearby governor’s office that’s still held by government forces, said Nasima Niazi, a lawmaker from Helmand.”
Niazi said she believed the Taliban attack killed and wounded security force members, but she had no casualty breakdown. Another suicide car bombing targeted the provincial prison, but the government still held it, she said. The Taliban’s other advances have seen the militants free hundreds of its members over the last week, bolstering their ranks while seizing American-supplied weapons and vehicles.”
As people are fleeing from the Taliban, they are heading toward Kabul.
And yet, as the Taliban continues to gain ground with a speed that would be almost comical if it wasn’t so deadly serious, the Biden administration and the Pentagon insist that the Afghan government can still hold their ground.
John Kirby, the chief Pentagon spokesman, said the Afghans still have time to save themselves from final defeat.”
“No potential outcome has to be inevitable, including the fall of Kabul,” Kirby told reporters. “It doesn’t have to be that way. It really depends on what kind of political and military leadership the Afghans can muster to turn this around.”
That optimism sounds strangely misplaced when compared to what intelligence officials have told the Associated Press.
The latest U.S. military intelligence assessment is that Kabul could come under insurgent pressure within 30 days and that if current trends hold, the Taliban could gain full control of the country within a couple of months.”
Technically, United States military forces will be out of Afghanistan in a little less than three weeks. If those intelligence assessments are accurate, the Taliban could be besieging Kabul within a week of the American forces leaving. By the beginning to middle of October, the entire country could be under Taliban control. Those will be some terrible optics for the United States on the world stage.
Joe Biden is not going to change his mind on Afghanistan. He doesn’t care about it being the 21st century version of Saigon. He wants the political “win” of getting to say that he pulled all the troops out, despite whatever grisly scenario follows after American forces are gone. And the stories of urban combat, and of girls being seized as “child brides” as “spoils of war” by Taliban fighters are already out there.
It seems that Joe Biden is willing to take the political hit when (not if) some atrocity in Afghanistan goes viral, and why wouldn’t he? How likely is it that he will have to deal with this mess during a re-election campaign? He gets all of the credit for getting troops out, and none of the fallout over what comes after. He’s going to leave that for Kamala Harris to try and clean up. Think she’s enjoying hitching her political future to the old man yet?
UPDATE 3 PM ET:
The reports on the ground continue to be grim.
UPDATE: Taliban capture city of Qala e Naw, this makes 4 provincial capitals captured today and at least 6 in the last 24 hours.
— Conflict News (@Conflicts) August 12, 2021
And this is worse. The Taliban is now claiming that they have control of Kandahar. This news has now apparently gotten both British and American diplomatic corps poised to be evacuated out of the country.
Three infantry battalions of approx. 3,000 military personnel to deploy to Kabul airport in the next 24 to 48 hours, according @PentagonPresSec
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) August 12, 2021
And yes, there are reports that the Taliban are executing Afghan soldiers.
Escalating Taliban violence, including executions of surrendered Afghan troops, shows a lack of respect for #HumanRights. Don’t erase Afghanistan’s human rights gains of the last 20 years.
— U.S. Embassy Kabul (@USEmbassyKabul) August 12, 2021
Do you really think that the Taliban cares about their human rights record??? And, do you think that Joe Biden and the State Department really care, either? Afghanistan is going to be a killing field, and if the Biden administration is okay with that, then fine, they can take that position. But then they can never again lecture ANYONE about “human rights.”