Afghan Govt: Military Fully Prepared to Provide Security Without Foreign Troops

Officials warn Taliban shouldn't 'miscalculate' on US pullout

The Afghan government’s National Security Council issued a statement Thursday warning the Taliban against miscalculation of the planned US military pullout from the country, saying that the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANSDF) are perfectly capable of providing security by themselves.

Underlying this is the dismissal of the idea that the Afghan government will be overrun by the Taliban when the US finally does leave in September. That’s certainly been a narrative for more than just the Taliban, with some officials as recently as yesterday declaring the pullout plan as a “betrayal” of Afghanistan that is setting the stage for disaster.

This declaration of self-sufficiency makes recent positions somewhat puzzling, including not-so-covert efforts by officials to try to sabotage the US pullout’s original date in May. Furthermore, an admission of self-sufficiency makes the US delay look even worse, suggesting this is a war that the US wants to continue, not the grudging continuation that they are presenting it as.

Secretary of State Tony Blinken is in Afghanistan for talks on a future strategic relationship, promising that the US will “honor its commitments” in Afghanistan beyond the pullout date. This presumably means more heavy subsidies for the ANSDF, but could also hint that the US will try to extend its stay even longer.

The Taliban sees the delay from May to September as the US reneging on the peace deal, and is warning of retaliation. This response is not surprising, and again raises the question of why, with Afghan officials believing themselves ready, the US chooses to stay and provoke responses.

This is doubly puzzling, as by most metrics the US is losing the war to the Taliban and has been for years. This makes the decision to stay even worse, as a sufficient Afghan defense would put the nation in a much better position than an eternally-failing US occupation.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.