One Month Is What Taliban Needs To Surround Kabul

According to US intelligence, the Taliban can isolate the Afghanistan capital Kabul within a month and take total control over it in 90 days. Earlier the US officials estimated a year’s time for Kabul to fall in the hands of the Taliban. However, they reassessed this time as thousands of commanders from Afghani forces surrendered or fled following the withdrawal of US troops in Afghanistan.

By Wednesday, the Taliban had seized three more provincial capitals and a local army headquarters, thereby gaining control over 65% of the country. The fall of the three capitals of Badakhshan, Baghlan, and Farah in the hands of the Taliban has put increasing pressure on the Afghanistan government to act and retaliate. Given the precarious situation of Afghanistan, other countries are also taking rapid measures for air rescue of their citizens from the capital Kabul.

However, this assessment is not absolute as the Afghan forces could put up more resistance to reverse the momentum of Taliban. Recently, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani went to seek help from the warlords in the Balkh province, which is already surrounded by Taliban-occupied territories. Some of these warlords are associated with allegations of atrocities and corruption in pushing back the insurgents. The President has also army chief of staff General. Wali Ahmedzai.

The advances of Taliban have posed serious questions on the efficiency of the Afghan government to maintain the status quo of the reminder of the country left in its hands. The government might eventually have to just pull back to defend the capital and a few cities left.

The rising violence has forced civilians to take shelter in the capital while the troops have fled the battlefield escaping the large-scale violence. Most of the battlefronts are now occupied by the government’s special forces.

The speed of the Taliban’s offensive gains has put the Biden administration in shock as it did not estimate the fall of Kabul until Fall, but the Islamists now control at least nine provincial capitals. As indicated earlier by the US, it has continued limited airstrike support to the Afghan forces, but it has not made any strategic difference to the on-ground situation. Even this aid is supposed to stop after the full withdrawal of the US troops by the end of this month.

Given these circumstances, President Biden’s decision of complete withdrawal has come into question. However, he has maintained his stance and urged the Afghan leaders to take active measures to defend their country. Biden hoped that peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban leaders could lead to a resolution. But it seems like the insurgent group is not ready to return to the negotiation table after their rapid success.

The fall of the country in the hands of the Taliban raises fear and suspicion that they will rule the country with their brutal tactics as they did earlier in 1996-2001. Some of these can include revenge killings, reintroducing repressive measures on women, and burning schools. There is also a rise in regional security tension due to the Taliban’s control of districts bordering Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Pakistan, and China.

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