The last Polish soldiers leave Afghanistan today. According to Gazeta.pl, the Executive Command of the Armed Forces:
After the scheduled return today, the rotation of Afghan PMCs soldiers in the country will end, which will end the activities of these PMCs in Afghanistan.
This will happen after 19 years. The Polish military unit has been operating in Afghanistan since 2002 (although there were commandos there before), at the peak of its development, its personnel numbered 2.6 thousand people at once. For three years, from 2010 to 2013, the Poles were officially responsible for the entire Ghazni province. Today it is controlled by the Taliban, which is making rapid progress. The battles are actually taking place in the capital itself, the city of Ghazni.
Rapid progress and decay
The Taliban have been waging a large-scale offensive since early May and are making rapid progress. Especially in northern Afghanistan, where they previously seemed to be the weaker side. According to the calculations of the Long War Journal Foundation (LWJ)After the Afghan war and Taliban fortune for years, they have doubled the number of areas under control since early May. Today, they are due to have 158. The Kabul government has only 84 under some control, and the remaining 156 are in dispute. True, the government controls the most populous and wealthy, home to 11.5 million people. Today, less than 10 million live under Taliban rule. 11.6 million remaining in the disputed areas.
However, there is no doubt that the Taliban now has the initiative and, more importantly, a psychological advantage. Frustrated, underpaid and deprived of Western support, the Afghan army will tear the seams. There are plenty of videos on the web that show so-called soldiers giving weapons, equipment or even entire bases to the Taliban, while still waving goodbye to their theoretical opponents. Weapon weight is delivered United States of America Fall into the hands of the enemies of the United States. This is largely a result of the Taliban declaring that every soldier or officer on the side rz ± duWhoever surrenders and lays down his arms can go home undisturbed. The ten provinces will fall into the hands of the rebels without any fighting. The Taliban, local elders, representatives of the police and the army all agreed that it would be best if the latter simply vanished into thin air.
A Taliban column equipped with an old Soviet tank (possibly a T-55) in Alaha Sai, Kapisa Province, next to the capital, Kabul.
No one with a sober view of the situation in Afghanistan could doubt that this would happen. More than a decade of Western-style building of the Afghan armed forces and police has been an almost entirely wasted effort. It was all about an overall lack of a sense of service to a common purpose (in Afghanistan, the concept of nation and state as a shared value is weakly entrenched), massive corruption, nepotism, incompetence, mistrust, drugs, desertion, and culture. and language barriers.
One of the Taliban surrender ceremonies to a small military post in Wardak Province.
Today, the only active components of the Afghan army are the Special Forces and the Air Force. It is the Kabul State Fire Service, but it is small and very overburdened with tasks. It cannot be everywhere. There is no longer any major support from Western Special Forces and the powerful US Air Force. So the government’s strategy is to surrender most of the country without any special resistance and focus on those areas which, in their opinion, are worth defending. In addition, efforts are underway to mobilize tribal militias in anti-Taliban areas who will receive arms from the government.
Video showing the surrender of a group of soldiers in Ghazni province. Some will join the Taliban.
There was a “Polish” province in the hands of the Taliban
LWJ’s Bill Roggio says the abandonment strategy is the perfect gift for the Taliban. They have always been the strongest out there, in the sparsely populated mountainous and agricultural regions. They had hideouts there, collected taxes there, and recruited new fighters. Now they can do it completely openly and over a larger area. As a result, they have more power to put pressure on the Kabul-controlled areas. They intensify attacks on roads connecting cities, blow up electricity poles and destroy other infrastructure.
The film aims to show the withdrawal of soldiers from a base in Kandahar province in agreement with the Taliban
This is the situation, inter alia, in the aforementioned Ghazni Province. The situation was never stable there. The rebellion was always active in the hinterland. In 2015, the Taliban almost occupied the capital, Ghazni, but was repelled with the support of Western forces. In 2018, they repeated their achievement, but decided not to try to take control permanently. However, they stayed in some neighborhoods of the city, collected taxes in them and exercised effective power. Today, almost the entire territory is classified by the LWJ as being under Taliban control. Ghazni city itself is “disputed”, although according to recent reports, this may quickly become a thing of the past. As of Tuesday evening, Poland time, the Taliban launched an attack on them. It also occupied one of the largest military bases in the province, seizing large quantities of weapons.
A Taliban fighter stands at the gate of Ghazni city
Such stories happen almost everywhere in Afghanistan. Government forces launched limited counterattacks, but with limited success. Although, for example, the main logistics center and bridge on the Tajik border in Sher Khan Bandar were to be restored. The Taliban captured it last week. 230 soldiers had to flee in panic across the border into Tajikistan. Now the counterattack was carried out by Afghan special forces and air forces. This place is definitely worth defending as it provides a great deal of business income.
Withdraw in a vacuum
At the same time, the last soldiers of NATO forces are withdrawn, who until recently were the ones who could turn the tide of the main battles in favor of the government in such emergency situations. There were less than ten thousand of them. Only small groups of Special Forces soldiers with the support of the Air Force were sent into open combat. The rest of the soldiers supported them and provided advice and training to the Afghans. Almost all of them were stationed at the major Bagram base outside Kabul.
Donald Trump ordered the evacuation in early 2020, when the United States unilaterally signed an agreement with the Taliban. The Americans pledged to withdraw by May 1, 2021, in exchange for the insurgents’ pledge not to allow al-Qaeda to operate on their territory or attack major city centers, and to start peace talks with the government in Kabul.
The Taliban regularly bomb the poles of power. Electricity problems are common even in Kabul
Joe Biden He insisted on these results, and contented himself with postponing the date of withdrawal “for logistical reasons.” In April, he announced that he wanted to end US involvement in Afghanistan on September 11, 2021, after two decades. However, the evacuation that began on May 1 is faster, and the last US soldiers are scheduled to leave Afghanistan in mid-July. A number of NATO countries have already done so with their own. Germany, Norwegian and Italians They have already left. The Poles are leaving today. They leave behind a dilapidated sandcastle.
The problem is that the Afghan government was not a party to the arrangement between the United States and the Taliban. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said, inter alia, that he did not agree with the release of 5,000 alleged Taliban from prisons, which was a key component of the announced peace process. Talks between the government and the Taliban, which began in Doha in Qatar in 2020, are still ongoing today, and the fighting is escalating. Weakened by the withdrawal of Western forces, Kabul is not in a strong negotiating position. The Taliban is getting stronger every day, so there is no need to rush either.
According to the latest US intelligence estimates published by the Wall Street Journal on June 23, the Kabul government may collapse six months after Western forces finally withdraw. This will be the lasting effect of two decades of Western intervention.