OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
The Taliban has seized a massive stash of US-made armaments and drones as they head for Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul.
As this is going on, Joe Biden has left the White House to begin a two-week summer vacation in Delaware.
The group has advanced through the country, taking 10 cities in total, and is now heading towards the Afghan capital. Taliban fighters have posted videos of themselves armed and walking the streets of the city of Ghazni after they took over the city.
Estimates have estimated that the hardline Islamists will reach and isolate Kabul within 30 days, and 90 from taking the city itself. But with the speed of the group’s advance, the city may fall much sooner.
Speaking to the Sun Online, Rob Clark, Defence Policy Associate at the Henry Jackson Society said, “There’s very little stopping them actually getting to Kabul. But reaching Kabul is one thing but taking it and holding are two completely different issues.”
Clark, who served in the British Army and fought in Afghanistan said that he hopes the central government can “grind down the Taliban” that ends in a stalemate, prompting peace negotiations.
He said the defense of the city lies in the “fighting spirit of the Afghan Special Forces and US airstrikes.”
“Take those two components away and it’s game over,” he said.
Pictures surfacing online show US-made drones and weapons captured by the Taliban, which will be used against their former owners.
Video footage released also shows US-made Humvees and armored vehicles captured by the Taliban being used to capture cities across the country.
The brutality of the Taliban has been felt across the country, with reports emerging that they are “going to door to door” to round up young girls to be “sex slaves” for the terror group.
Afghanistan’s ambassador to the US said terrified Kabul residents were preparing for the worst and a last stand against the Taliban.
“I think for every Afghan it’s difficult – we don’t advocate for war. But there is a time we need to defend the country and ourselves,” said Adela Raz.
The Sun reports:
The Islamists now control 65 per cent of Afghanistan and are threatening Kandahar, the country’s second largest city.
Intense fighting is continuing there and the city’s main prison has been overrun, with the Taliban releasing around 1,000 prisoners, thought to have been held on political grounds.
As the Afghan army collapses, the fate of the country appears to lie in the hands of its numerous but divided warlords.
President Ashraf Ghani flew to Mazar-i-Sharif to meet the warlords there who are organizing a defence of the biggest city in the north as Taliban forces closed in.
US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday he did not regret his decision to withdraw from the country and urged Afghan leaders to fight for their homeland after the US departs from the country after spending upwards of $2.4 trillion over the span of 20 years, and loss of thousands of soldiers and civilian lives.
“Afghan leaders have to come together,” Biden told reporters at the White House, saying the Afghan troops outnumber the Taliban and must want to fight. “They’ve got to fight for themselves, fight for their nation.”
White House Press Secretary echoed Biden’s sentiments, saying that Afghans “need to determine if they have the political will to fight back and if they have the ability to unite as leaders to fight back,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
Journalist Julian Röpcke wrote on Twitter, “The #Taliban not only seized appr. a hundred US humvees and (MaxxPro) MRAPs at Kunduz airport, but also several US ScanEagle drones. Billions of US taxpayer $ going to Islamist extremists, thanks to the administration’s hasty withdrawal without a peace deal or follow up mission.”
The #Taliban not only seized appr. a hundred US humvees and (MaxxPro) MRAPs at Kunduz airport, but also several US ScanEagle drones.
Billions of US tax payer $ going to Islamist extremists, thanks to the administration's hasty withdrawal without a peace deal or follow up mission. pic.twitter.com/Fb5MTpdLKK
— Julian Röpcke (@JulianRoepcke) August 12, 2021
Charles Lister, author, and foreign policy expert wrote, “Alarming — the #Taliban‘s capture of #Kunduz Airport has brought an enormous haul of heavy weaponry — including a T-62 tank, 4+ MaxxPro MRAPs (~$2.1 million worth), multiple heavy artillery pieces + dozens of armored Humvees & U.S.-provided pick-ups.”
Alarming — the #Taliban's capture of #Kunduz Airport has brought an enormous haul of heavy weaponry — including a T-62 tank, 4+ MaxxPro MRAPs (~$2.1 million worth), multiple heavy artillery pieces + dozens of armored Humvees & U.S.-provided pick-ups. pic.twitter.com/hQdWL73irU
— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) August 12, 2021