Taliban gain strength as US forces move out of Afghanistan
US President Joe Biden continues with his predecessor Donald Trump’s policy of disengagement in the war-torn Central Asian nation
Tony Fernandez | August 12, 2021 6:21 pm
Photo courtesy: Wikimedia
US President Joe Biden has refused to budge from his position of withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan, despite Taliban insurgents gaining control over almost two-thirds of the country. This means that he wants to continue with his predecessor Donald Trump’s policy of disengagement in the war-torn Central Asian nation.
Reuters has reported that Pul-e-Khumri, capital of the northern province of Baghlan, fell to the Taliban last evening, according to residents who reported Afghan security forces retreating toward the Kelagi desert, home to a large Afghan army base. This has not changed the US President’s view over the issue. “Afghan leaders have to come together,” Biden told reporters at the White House, saying the Afghan troops outnumber the Taliban and must want to fight. “They’ve got to fight for themselves, fight for their nation.”
While many in the US and elsewhere, including former US president George Bush, have slammed the Biden administration for the withdrawal of troops, policy rethink seems unlikely in the near future.
Meanwhile the Taliban juggernaut seems unstoppable. “The Taliban has broken into the Kandahar central jail and released hundreds of incarcerated prisoners. Afghan media outlets quoted Taliban spokesperson Qari Yousaf Ahmadi to confirm that the group had managed to ‘conquer’ the Kandahar central jail on Wednesday,” India Today reported.
Another Reuters report, quoting officials, said that Afghan government forces are battling Taliban fighters in and around several cities, as the Taliban pressed on with their offensive that US intelligence believes could see them take over the capital, Kabul, within 90 days.
The Taliban control about two-thirds of Afghanistan, with the last of the US-led international forces set to leave by the end of the month, and their guerrilla army has waged war on multiple fronts, resulting in thousands of families fleeing the provinces in hope of finding safety in the capital, Kabul, the Reuters report said.
“Fighting did not stop until 4 a.m. and then after the first prayers it started up again,” said an aid worker in the southern city of Kandahar.
“Fighting has been extremely intense in Kandahar city, a doctor based in the southern province said earlier. The city hospital had received scores of bodies of members of the armed forces and some wounded Taliban. The Taliban said they had captured Kandahar’s provincial prison,” the Reuters report said.