Sunday, 26 Jun 2022

US withdrawal triggered catastrophic defeat of Afghan forces, damning watchdog report finds

US withdrawal triggered catastrophic defeat of Afghan forces, damning watchdog report finds


US withdrawal triggered catastrophic defeat of Afghan forces, damning watchdog report finds

Afghan armed forces collapsed last year because they had been made dependent on US support that was abruptly withdrawn in the face of a Taliban offensive, according to a scathing assessment by a US government watchdog.

A report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (Sigar) on the catastrophic defeat that led to the fall of Kabul on 15 August, blamed the administrations of Donald Trump and Joe Biden as well as the Afghan government of Ashraf Ghani.

It would have taken decades to build a modern, cohesive and self-reliant force, the Sigar document argued. The Afghan air force, the main military advantage the government had over the Taliban, had not been projected to be self-sufficient until 2030 at the earliest.

The secrecy led to unintended consequences, the report said.

The Sigar report also blames the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, who changed ANDSF commanders during the Taliban offensive, appointing aged loyalists from the communist era, while marginalising well-trained ANDSF officers aligned with the US.

Ghani fled Afghanistan on the day Kabul fell.

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