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After US exit from Afghanistan, top US commanders wrestle with mistakes

US commanders who led the war in Afghanistan are struggling to decipher how the country collapsed to the Taliban and cautioned a possible "civil war"

Taliban | Afghanistan | United States


Taliban, Afghanistan, US embassy
The iconic Taliban flag is painted on a wall outside the American embassy compound in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Not even a month has passed after the completion of the US drawdown from Afghanistan, US commanders who led the war in are struggling to decipher how the country collapsed to the and cautioned a possible "civil war".

Last Sunday, a top US General had admitted the "collapse" of the Afghan army, in the face of the offensive, happened at a much faster rate.

The United States' role in has come under scanner after the Taliban's swift takeover of Kabul, following an offensive that saw the quick fall of the US-trained Afghan army. "The collapse of the Afghan army happened at a much faster rate and (was) very unexpected by pretty much everybody," General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had said.

Milley had further warned that conditions for a future "civil war" could develop in following the US troops' withdrawal.

In the aftermath of the US exit from Afghanistan, CNN interviewed several US commanders who led the war in the troubled country, in a bid to comprehend what went wrong in Afghanistan.

"The 20-year war in Afghanistan was -- for the results that we have achieved -- not worth the cost," said Karl Eikenberry, a former commander in Afghanistan.

In the CNN report, the US commander revealed how political decisions hurt the ability of service members to succeed. Also, they wondered whether the Pentagon misrepresented the Afghan military's abilities to the public.

Moreover, US commanders described their resentment about the way politicians scaled back resources for Afghanistan to fuel the war in Iraq. "My first impulse is to say, yes, it was worth it, but I no longer am certain of that," said former general McNeill, who led coalition forces in the early 2000s.

"Before I go to my grave, I hope to have that question answered."

Post the messy withdrawal of Americans from Afghanistan, former acting CIA Director Michael Morell last week said "jihadists" were "absolutely inspired" by the US's exit and the Taliban's win in Afghanistan.

"I think that the winning the war in Afghanistan, and then the way our exit happened, has absolutely inspired jihadists all over the world," Morell said in an interview with CBS.

"The Taliban is saying, we just didn't defeat the United States, we defeated NATO. We defeated the world's greatest military power, ever. So there's a celebration going on," he added.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mon, September 13 2021. 11:19 IST