The United States is concerned that the Taliban could capture Kabul within 1-3 months, far sooner than previous intelligence assessment suggested, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
According to the newspaper, the situation in the country is now worse than it was in June when the US intelligence predicted that Kabul could collapse in 6-12 months after the American troop pullout from Afghanistan.
“Everything is moving in the wrong direction,” a source familiar with the new intelligence assessment told the paper.
The hostilities between the Afghan government and the Taliban have intensified as foreign troops began withdrawing from the country. The Taliban have since captured large rural territories and launched an offensive on major cities.
White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said on Tuesday that President Joe Biden continues to believe it is not inevitable for the Taliban to take over Kabul or entire Afghanistan.
Earlier, US President Joe Biden emphasized that his decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is not up for debate, asserting that despite the Afghans’ ineffective action, he did not “regret” his decision to pull out from the war-torn nation.
Biden told reporters – “we spent over a trillion USD over 20 years. We trained and equipped, with modern equipment, over 300,000 Afghan forces. And Afghan leaders have to come together.”
Price, the State Department spokesman, said the Afghan national security forces “far outnumber the Taliban,” with a “capable fighting force of 300,000 troops.”
At the same time – we’ve made this point before, but – the Afghan Government, the Afghan National Security Forces, far outnumber the Taliban – 300,000 – a capable fighting force of 300,000 troops, an air force that has modern weaponry, that has been trained by the United States, that just recently was provided with additional equipment. They have special forces. They have heavy equipment. So they have a capable fighting force.
US evaluations have indicated there are more soldiers on paper but limited on the ground. The on-paper soldiers include “ghost soldiers” — people accounted on paper but who do not show up on the duty. Other government troops flee their posts or just surrender to the Taliban.
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Meanwhile, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani recently visited Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of the northern Balkh province, to discuss security issues.
During meetings with locals, the president alongside ex-Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum and former Balkh governor Atta Muhammad Nur will focus on steps to ensure the security of the city.
The trip comes a day after the Taliban said that they had taken control over Pol-e-Khomri, the capital of the Baghlan province, which is located on the strategic road Kabul-Mazar-i-Sharif.
In total, the militants claim to have overrun eight Afghan provinces in just five days as they step up their offensive in light of foreign troop withdrawal.
With Inputs from Sputnik News Agency