We were betrayed by politics and presidents.Commander of the Afghan National Army General Sami Sadat on the current situation in Afghanistan.
This article was published in the Op-Ed section of The New York Times – Key takeaways:
Political divisions in Kabul and Washington strangled the army and limited our ability to do our jobs. Losing combat logistical support that the United States had provided for years crippled us, as did a lack of clear guidance from U.S. and Afghan leadership.
First, former President Donald Trump’s February 2020 peace deal with the Taliban in Doha doomed us. It put an expiration date on American interest in the region. Second, we lost contractor logistics and maintenance support critical to our combat operations. Third, the corruption endemic in Mr. Ghani’s government that flowed to senior military leadership and long crippled our forces on the ground irreparably hobbled us.
The Trump-Taliban agreement shaped the circumstances for the current situation by essentially curtailing offensive combat operations for U.S. and allied troops.
Mr. Biden’s full and accelerated withdrawal only exacerbated the situation. It ignored conditions on the ground. The Taliban had a firm end date from the Americans and feared no military reprisal for anything they did in the interim, sensing the lack of U.S. will.
The final days of fighting were surreal. We engaged in intense firefights on the ground against the Taliban as U.S. fighter jets circled overhead, effectively spectators. Our sense of abandonment and betrayal was equaled only by the frustration U.S. pilots felt and relayed to us — being forced to witness the ground war, apparently unable to help us.
I cannot ignore the third factor, though. Because there was only so much the Americans could do when it came to the well-documented corruption that rotted our government and military. That really is our national tragedy.
by Jenna Lee,