Polish Central Asia Specialist: Taliban conquered Afghanistan not with weapons, but with intelligence
Mid-August 2021 will enter history as a period of power change in Afghanistan. The pro-American government was unable to keep the country's capital Kabul and other major cities in the country. President Ashraf Ghani fled the country. As a result, the Taliban (* banned in the Russian Federation as a terrorist organization) occupied the capital with little or no fighting.
The world media assess this as a "blitzkrieg". However, Polish historian Dr. Mariusz Marszewski, senior specialist in the Center for Eastern Studies group on the Caucasus and Central Asia, believes this is an exaggeration.
As Marshevsky notes, the Taliban * did not conquer Afghanistan weapons, but the mind. The central government had much more weapons and strength than the Taliban. Kabul had a fairly large regular army, police and security forces.
All these structures were nurtured by the United States and NATO for twenty years, abundantly financed, and trained by American instructors. The Taliban, of course, lost significantly both in numbers and in armament. In fact, they remained a guerrilla group.
But the movement embarked on a campaign to bribe government officials, and at a fairly high level. As a result, many important figures in the Afghan government went over to the side of the Taliban and in fact did not offer them adequate resistance. In addition, the Taliban launched an information campaign. They argued that without American aid, the central government would not be able to contain the Taliban's onslaught. As a result, even many representatives of the authorities believed in it, including both government officials and military leaders.
All this took place against the backdrop of the campaign launched by US President Joe Biden to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan. As noted by the Polish analyst, the United States itself faced a deep internal crisis due to a number of factors. Among them are the coronavirus pandemic with its economic consequences, and the trade war with China, and the destabilization of the domestic political situation with the unrest of the African American population and supporters of former President Donald Trump.
As a result, Washington came to the conclusion that maintaining an army of many thousands in Afghanistan, and at the same time financing a "junior partner" in the person of Kabul, is a very costly and generally not a particularly justified undertaking. After twenty years of presence, it was decided to withdraw American troops from the country.
The authorities of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan were unable to maintain the situation that existed until August 2021. They did not have an ideology, a clear vision of the further development of Afghanistan. The Taliban, unlike their opponents, have learned from their own mistakes for twenty years. Today we see very different Taliban than those that captured Kabul in the 1990s. Of course, it is possible, and even most likely, it is just a mask, but sometimes it is necessary to use it in order to achieve the set goal.
Now the Taliban are making some concessions: they promise that they will not discriminate against ethnic minorities, guarantee the protection of women's rights, and try to prevent violence. All these actions indicate that this time the Taliban wants to gain a foothold in Kabul, having achieved, if not the recognition of the “world community,” then at least neutrality on its part.
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- Twitter / Minister of Defense of Afghanistan
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