Afghan security forces’ ability to function without the assistance of American troops and contractors caused them to collapse in the face of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, and the White House continues to overestimate their power.
The White House continues to overestimate the number of Afghan troops and police who were active in the fight when President Joe Biden ordered the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from the country. The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), which included troops and police, were touted as outnumbering the Taliban and able to survive after the U.S. withdrawal, but the reality was that the security forces were riddled with systemic problems and were a house of cards that could not operate without support from U.S. troops and civilian contractors. Moreover, the ranks of Afghan’s security forces were artificially inflated by tens of thousands of “ghosts” who only existed on paper, not in real life. The White House summary of the Afghanistan withdrawal places the majority of the blame on former President Trump, who reached an agreement with the Taliban in February 2020 to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by May 2021. However, no one can argue that the U.S. government had been warned for years that Afghan troops and police could not hold their own against the Taliban.