The US Special Inspector for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) in a recent report identified six factors it said led to the collapse of the former republic government of Afghanistan.
The Afghan government failed to realize that the US would “actually” exit from Afghanistan, SIGAR said.
“Even as the United States officially expressed its desire to exit Afghanistan in the years leading up to its departure, contradictory messaging by US officials undermined efforts to convey the seriousness of US intentions to Afghan officials who optimistically believed that alternative scenarios were possible,” the report said.
According to SIGAR, the Afghan government was fundamentally unprepared to manage the fight against the Taliban as the United States military and its contractors withdrew.
The second reason for the fall of the western backed government of former President Ashraf Ghani, SIGAR said, was the exclusion of the Afghan government from “US-Taliban talks” that weakened and undermined the Afghan government.
The report said that the “Taliban’s refusal” to talk to the Afghan government without first negotiating with the United States was an obstacle to a sustainable peace in Afghanistan, and thus, the US sought to “circumvent this by dealing first with the Taliban in the hopes it could set the stage for an intra-Afghan peace process and possibly an Afghan political settlement.”
“But the US-Taliban agreement did not have that effect,” the report cited, adding that instead, the “Taliban reinvigorated its battlefield campaign against the Afghan government, which was weakened by its exclusion from US-Taliban talks and the perception that the United States was withdrawing its support.”
The Afghan government's insistence on effectively integrating the Taliban into the Republic also made progress on peace negotiations difficult. This was the third reason, according to SIGAR.
“When intra-Afghan talks started in September 2020, security conditions were poor, with Taliban attacks “above seasonal norms,” the report said, citing US military information. In the meantime, the political instability had increased after the highly contested September 2019 US presidential election, which was marred by allegations of fraud.
“Exclusion from US-Taliban talks, and the subsequent signing of the February 2020 agreement, were further blows to the credibility of the Afghan government,” SIGAR said.
The fourth reason given by SIGAR was the "unwillingness of the Taliban to compromise” who were emboldened by their deal with the US, SIGAR said.
“From that point onward, the insurgency increasingly focused on defeating the Afghan government on the battlefield,” the report reads.
For the fifth reason, SIGAR blames former President Ashraf Ghani who “governed through a highly selective, narrow circle of loyalists, destabilizing the government at a critical juncture.”
“The president’s political and social isolation appears to have been a function of both his personality, and his desire to centralize and micromanage policy implementation,” the report said.
The sixth and final reason was, the Afghan government’s high level of centralization, endemic corruption, and struggle to attain legitimacy were long-term contributors to its eventual collapse.
“The Bonn Conference, convened in late 2001, established a process for the construction of a new political order in Afghanistan that involved the adoption of a new constitution and democratic elections,” the report reads.
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