In the wake of the withdrawal of most International forces, the Taliban launched an offensive that saw it retake the country after 20 years and sent ripples throughout the global community. The US-led alliance had trained, armed and instructed the Afghan National Army for 20 years. The whole Afghan debacle cost more than $2 trillion for American taxpayers, according to some economists.
The Taliban, during their first rule of Afghanistan, had granted asylum to Osama Bin Laden, the Al-Queda terrorist behind the 9/11 attacks on American citizens. The American military invaded Afghanistan, thoroughly defeating the Taliban withinin two months and replacing them with a democratically elected government. The search for Bin Laden continued for another decade before he was finally located in 2011 in Abottabad, Pakistan and killed in a special forces raid.
It is ironic that it was the American intelligence agencies that had funded Afghan tribes to repel the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, culminating in these tribes forming the Taliban. This was part of the Cold War in which the Americans and Soviets spied and sabotaged each other, often participating in indirect proxy wars supporting opposing sides but never fighting each other directly so as to avoid nuclear war.
The democratic government suffered from instability and a violent Taliban insurgency but recieved extensive aid from nations throughout the world. The American alliance fought the Taliban and for the most part, kept the insurgency in check. The US was also the chief supplier of military and financial aid during this period, ramping up the country’s infrastructure. The Americans knew they could not do this forever and as such, had been training the Afghan army for 20 years. They also equipped them with top notch weapons and vehicles (armour, aircraft and artillery).
Despite this, when the US and other nations pulled out their troops, Afghanistan folded within weeks with the Taliban capturing Kabul within hours after entering it yesterday i.e. August 15. They are now expected to form the government and declare the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. While the name may not sound too unfamiliar from the previous Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, it will herald the return of a dark age.
During its earlier stint governing Afghanistan, the terrorist group suppresed dissent brutally and ruled with an iron fist. They also oppressed women, denying them education and jobs. The Taliban has already begun pulling girls and women out of schools and workplaces, confining them within their homes and hunting down locals who had supported the previous government or the US alliance.
The reasons for the swift downfall of Afghanistan have yet to be investigated but early speculation suggest a lack of nationalist spirit among the armymen (because of the tribal and de-centralised nature of Afghanistan), leading to them surrendering wholesale without firing a single shot. Corruption is also believed to be rampant with soldiers not recieving salaries for long periods resulting in low morale.