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Why did the Afghan army disintegrate so quickly?

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On August 15, the Taliban captured the Afghan capital Kabul and declared the war in Afghanistan over. The lightning speed with which the group made major territorial gains as the Afghan National Defence Security Forces (ANDSF) retreated without putting up a fight shocked many.

Over the last 20 years, the US spent more than $83bn training, equipping and developing the Afghan national army, police, air force, and special forces. Yet, under the advance of an armed group carrying light weapons, the ANDSF fell apart in a spectacular fashion.

The unprecedented pace of the Taliban’s territorial gains surprised even US intelligence, which had projected that it would take months for the group to establish control over the country. As a result, the US and several other Western countries have had to redeploy thousands of troops to help with the emergency evacuation of their citizens and diplomatic staff from Kabul.

Had Western analysts and intelligence agencies been more aware of the realities on the ground, perhaps, they would not have been taken by surprise by the developments of the past few days. A number of factors account for the collapse of the Afghan state and the ANDSF.

First, there was widespread corruption in Afghanistan’s defence and interior ministries where funds, ammunition and food deliveries were stolen before reaching the soldiers on the ground. The ammunition and other equipment were sold on the black market, eventually........

© Al Jazeera

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