Somewhat surprisingly, President Joe Biden picked up where former President Donald Trump left off in terms of withdrawing U.S. military forces from Afghanistan and bringing to a close a war that has endured for nearly 20 years.
Unfortunately, despite those 20 years plus billions in aid and equipment and thousands of lives lost, the Afghanistan government appears wholly incapable of holding the nation together and withstanding an effort by the Taliban to reclaim power once the U.S. is gone, the Washington Examiner reported.
Such were the assessments of two top U.S. military commanders in Afghanistan — one current, the other former — who expressed their concerns that the Afghan government could quickly fall without the continued support of the U.S. and added that the nation would be plunged into another civil war.
Security situation in Afghanistan is “not good”
ABC News‘ Martha Raddatz recently traveled to Afghanistan and spoke with U.S. Army Gen. Austin Scott Miller about the ongoing withdrawal of U.S. forces and equipment and what he foresaw happening in the future once all of the American troops were gone.
“I think what you’re seeing — just if you look at the security situation — it’s not good,” Miller said. “The Afghans have recognized it’s not good. The Taliban are on the move.”
The general expressed concern over reports in recent weeks and months of Afghan security forces quickly surrendering and handing over equipment and weapons to Taliban forces that have seized control in various parts of the country. He said, “The loss of terrain and the rapidity of that loss of terrain has to be a concerning one.”
“So as you watch the Taliban moving across the country, what you don’t want to have happen is that the people lose hope and they believe they now have a foregone conclusion presented to them,” Miller added.
U.S. will “regret” hasty pullout
That same concern is shared by retired U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, as expressed in a recent interview with The Washington Post’s David Ignatius about the ongoing withdrawal from Afghanistan that is scheduled to be completed by Sep. 11.
Suggesting that the U.S. may come to “regret” the rapidity of the withdrawal, Petraeus said, “You have seen the Taliban take dozens of districts in recent weeks.”
“It appears that that kind of psychological element that is so important with soldiers, that they know that someone is coming to the rescue and that there will be close air support, air medevac, additional forces,” he continued. “They seem to be doubting that, and whenever that happens, then you start to see soldiers not fight, desert, surrender, what have you, and we’ve seen that in dozens of districts, again, just in recent months.”
“As you’ll recall me saying very early on, I feared that we were consigning Afghanistan to a civil war, and again, that seems to be materializing sooner than I had even feared it would,” the retired general added.
Both the current and former commander also expressed deep concerns for the safety of Afghan battlefield interpreters and their families that could be targeted by the Taliban and urged the Biden administration to act with haste to secure their removal to the U.S. Both generals also seemed to suggest that limited continued U.S. assistance, post-departure, could help forestall a complete Taliban takeover of the war-torn nation.