We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Stop Assuming the Taliban Will Win

106 0 0
28.07.2021

Over the past several weeks, as the Taliban swept through half of Afghanistan’s more than 400 districts, set up checkpoints at key highways, and seized border crossings, it has been easy to assume they are on the way to taking over the entire country. Indeed, the Taliban have themselves claimed as much. But there’s no reason to take such propaganda at face value.

That’s not to say that the Afghan government’s own propaganda about retaking lost territory deserves to be taken any more seriously. The reality is that the opposing forces in Afghanistan—which include at least half a dozen anti-Taliban independent militias—are currently far more balanced than most outside observers seem to believe. After the U.S. military withdraws, Afghanistan is most likely headed toward a protracted conflict and a political stalemate.

Over the past several weeks, as the Taliban swept through half of Afghanistan’s more than 400 districts, set up checkpoints at key highways, and seized border crossings, it has been easy to assume they are on the way to taking over the entire country. Indeed, the Taliban have themselves claimed as much. But there’s no reason to take such propaganda at face value.

That’s not to say that the Afghan government’s own propaganda about retaking lost territory deserves to be taken any more seriously. The reality is that the opposing forces in Afghanistan—which include at least half a dozen anti-Taliban independent militias—are currently far more balanced than most outside observers seem to believe. After the U.S. military withdraws, Afghanistan is most likely headed toward a protracted conflict and a political stalemate.

Gen. Sami Sadat is a 36-year old American-trained officer of the Afghan army and in charge of security in nearly 20 percent of Afghan territory. He spoke to Foreign Policy from an outpost in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province. Sadat was self-possessed and not in the slightest unnerved about the Taliban’s presence all around him. Instead, he boasted about the superior training of his men, access to advanced weaponry, and above all a sense of duty to save the country from “savages.”

“Hell no! There is no way the Taliban will take the city,” Sadat said. “We are in a much stronger position. On an average, we neutralize 60-70 Taliban every 24 hours, whilst they kill one of ours. The ratio is 1 to 60.” Sadat described the Taliban’s claims of holding 85 percent of territory as highly exaggerated and vowed to defeat them house by house, one district at a time. “They have had an advantage in rural........

© Foreign Policy


Get it on Google Play