Michael Cardinal, FISM News
The Taliban captured Kandahar and Herat which are the 2nd and 3rd largest cities in Afghanistan yesterday, leading to shockwaves across the country and around the world.
These is the largest victories for the terrorist organization that has now taken over 2/3 of the volatile country. Reports say that the streets of the two cities was mostly barren as people had either barred themselves in the home or fled the area out of fear.
This has significantly increased the timeline of a potential full takeover of the country as well, as a US defense officer said that the Taliban could advance on Kabul in a matter of days. Just a few days ago, US intelligence had predicted that the capital would remain secure for at least 30 more days.
The Long War Journal has been tracking the daily advancement of Taliban troops and shows that the Taliban has steadily increased their control over the country since President Biden announced he would be withdrawing all troops from the country. The concern that was voiced by military leaders and the UN that the Taliban would perform a coup if a vacuum was left by foreign powers now appears to becoming a reality.
This morning the US announced that they will send 3,000 additional troops to help evacuate thousands of civilians in response to the worsening situation. Ned Price held a press conference in which he said that the US plans to only leave a “core diplomatic presence” in the country:
The increase tempo of the Taliban military engagement and the resulting increase in violence and instability across Afghanistan is of grave concern… Accordingly, we are further reducing our civilian footprint in Kabul in light of the evolving security situation.
Despite this announcement Biden is still set to withdraw all troops from the country by August 30th, as military officials said that the additional troops were being sent for a specific mission and will not affect the withdrawal date. Earlier this week Biden, said that he did not regret his decision as the US had spent over $1 trillion dollars on the war and had lost thousands of troops. More and more politicians are voicing a need for America to do something out of a fear that all of the progress made in the country since 9/11 to combat terrorism will be for naught.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the situation was “hurtling toward an even worse sequel to the humiliating fall of Saigon in 1975,” referring to North Vietnam’s victory in the Vietnam war.
The US envoy that was sent to Taliban offices in Qatar has stepped up peace discussions as “a matter of great urgency,” but Taliban officials have seem set on military victory. While they claimed they are open to a political path it would only be if the Afghani government would hand over control to the Taliban. A Taliban official said that they “won’t accept any offer” that makes them a partner with the current Afghanistan government.