Afghan Military, Police Trade Blame as Taliban Holds Kunduz

Major City's Loss Has Both Sides Eager to Shift Blame

The Monday loss of the major northern Afghan city of Kunduz was one of the biggest losses in years in the ongoing war, and while on Thursday officials were claiming they’d retaken the city already, the reality is that the Taliban still holds most of the city heading into the weekend.

In the grand scheme of things, Afghan officials are trying to downplay the situation and insisting they were able to “hold their own” in fighting against the Taliban, even if they didn’t always win. But locally, the question is still how they lost to the Taliban despite outnumbering them. Afghan police and soldiers both have opinions on this matter.

As is often the case in the wake of a military defeat, everyone is trying to shift responsibility. Afghan soldiers insist the police were “cowards” who surrendered quickly, while police maintain that the Afghan troops, despite having much better weaponry and more training, were “soft” and hid in their base for much of the fight.

This effort to shift blame goes all the way up the chain of command, with higher-ranking officials blaming the lack of reinforcements or the lack of additional weapons shipments for the losses, but the reality is that no one seemed to believe Kunduz could be lost until the moment it was.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of