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The sordid secret behind the defeat of the Afghan military

A question that many of us have been asking ourselves is how the Afghan military collapsed so quickly in the face of the Taliban assault. After all, it seems like it was only a month ago that Biden assured the American people that a Taliban take-over of Afghanistan was “not inevitable”…

Oh wait, it was just a month ago… during a press briefing on July 8th, to be precise.

In that press briefing Biden stressed that the ANDSF (Afghan National Defense and Security Forces) was comprised of approximately 300,000 trained soldiers with weaponry and equipment pitted against about 75,000 Taliban militants.

Therefore, there was really no chance of the disaster scenario in Kabul we see unfolding before our very eyes – or so he said.

In that case how did the Taliban rout and defeat a force as much as four times its size in months or even weeks? After all, when the Soviets left Afghanistan in 1989, it took the Mujahideen about three years to topple the government.

As Biden withdrew US forces, the Afghans didn’t even last a month.

When Biden finally addressed the world regarding Afghanistan on August 16th, 2021, he presented a theory regarding the rapid capitulation of the ANDSF. He stated:

“The Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight… We gave them every tool they could need. We paid their salaries, provided for the maintenance of their air force… What we could not provide them was the will to fight for that future… if Afghanistan is unable to mount any real resistance to the Taliban now, there is no chance that… U.S. military boots on the ground would have made any difference.”

The Biden administration may wish to console themselves that the responsibility for the abysmal failure of the ANDSF lies solely in the hands of their Afghan allies, but there is a sordid secret just beneath the surface of his blame-shifting rhetoric.

In order to understand what happened in Afghanistan in the fight of ANDSF against the Taliban, we must first understand how the United States Armed Forces trained the Afghan military.

The American military designed the ANDSF to follow an Air / ISR (Intelligence, Support, Reconnaissance) model. In simple terms that means that the Afghan ground troops rely heavily on both detailed and accurate intelligence and especially on strong air support.

In other words, the effectiveness of the Afghan military is severely diminished without a functioning air force and efficient intelligence gathering and communication.

A US Department of Defense Inspector General report to Congress at the end of 2020 emphasized that an international collection of private defense contractors supplemented these functions and were absolutely crucial to the maintenance of the Afghan air force.

Without the private contractors, the report indicated that the Afghan military and the air force in particular would collapse almost immediately.

Similarly, Bradley Bowman, the senior director of the Center on Military and Political Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies as well as a former US Army officer and Black Hawk helicopter pilot who served valiantly in Afghanistan, concurred. In June of 2021 – two months before the fall of Kabul – Bowman declared to the media:

“We’re talking about the more or less grounding of the Afghan air force… Air power is arguably the Afghan government’s main edge in its fight with the Taliban. If we don’t help them maintain those aircraft, then the Afghan security forces will be deprived of that advantage, and that could have a decisive impact on the battlefield and ultimately on the state of the Afghan government.”

The Biden administration didn’t listen.

By July of 2021 the 18,000 vitally-important private contractors – including the crucial collection of aircraft maintenance personnel – were diminished to well under 8,000 as part of Biden’s withdrawal.

The Biden administration essentially hamstrung the Afghan forces while they were actively engaged in heavy battle against the Taliban militants. In that context the Afghan military failed against – and in some cases fled from – the vicious Taliban onslaught. That is the sordid secret behind the failure of the ANDSF in their struggle against the Taliban.

An analogy could be made to a teacher instructing her students how to solve complex mathematical equations with the assistance of a calculator. But just as their final test commences, the teacher removes the batteries from her students’ calculators. Some of the students futilely try to solve the math problems with great difficulty; others are discouraged and walk out, knowing that a failing grade is inevitable. When the entire class fails, the teacher then berates them, claiming that their own unwillingness to learn or take their education seriously is to blame.

This is precisely what Biden did on August 16th, 2021. He even lied and falsely claimed specifically that the US was still adequately maintaining the Afghan air force when in reality he had already sent most of the contracted maintenance crews home. Even worse, rather than admit that his administration rejected the strong counsel of his own defense officials and ultimately crippled the Afghan military at their greatest hour of need, Biden instead had the audacity and the chutzpah to falsely accuse his demoralized Afghan allies of disloyalty, lack of motivation, and even cowardice.

With “friends” like these, no wonder the Afghans shrugged in despair and acquiesced to the Taliban takeover.

Source: Ben Kerido – Arutz Sheva