The Afghanistan government has struggled to maintain control as the U.S. military continues its withdrawal, with local government forces pulling back from seven districts across the country.
Taliban insurgents continue to press into more areas in the absence of U.S. support for Afghan forces. The capital province of Badakhshan remains a paramount concern for the local government.
The Ministry of Defense has fought back a number of insurgent efforts, killing at least eight Taliban soldiers during operations over the weekend, Tolo News reports.
The Taliban have taken control of six districts in the past 24 hours.
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“Poor management is causing the district to collapse,” said Mohiuddon Munsif, a senator. “If they don’t consider their programs and management, the situation will only get worse.”
Some 1,000 Afghan troops have taken refuge in Tajikistan, the report claimed. The government has focused its forces in Badakhshan to hold it at the cost of other districts.
Former President Donald Trump initiated a plan to withdraw U.S. troops from the country, intending to complete the withdrawal of all regular troops by May 2021. President Biden changed that timeline when he took office, instead aiming to withdraw troops by Sept. 11, 2021.
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The decision has drawn bipartisan criticism, with proponents saying the withdrawal will only increase the problems within the country. Former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai claimed that extremism is at its “highest point” ahead of the planned drawdown of U.S. forces from his country and that the U.S. had failed to live up to its promises.
The New York Times only two weeks ago reported that the Taliban had entered key cities in the northern part of Afghanistan, taking over Kunduz City – a city U.S. forces had helped take back from brief Taliban rule in 2016.
“Right now, I hear the sound of bullets,” said Amruddin Wali, a member of Kunduz’s provincial council. “The Taliban have appeared in the alleys and back alleys of Kunduz, and there is panic all over the city.”
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Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, lambasted Biden’s insistence on completing the withdrawal by Sept. 11, 2021, which is little over three months away, saying that it would lead to the Taliban taking more aggressive actions.
“We can’t ignore the reality on the ground in Afghanistan,” Ernst wrote in a Fox News op-ed. “Many of the threats that brought us there in the first place are spreading through the region.”
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“The Taliban is gaining strength and threatening the Afghanistan government,” she argued. “They also threaten those who worked alongside our U.S. military and diplomatic personnel. President Biden’s announcement of a precipitous withdrawal emboldens the Taliban and their allies.”