Taliban fighting forces have begun to surround the outskirts of the Afghan capital city of Kabul. The resurgent Taliban military appears to be on the verge of resuming power after nearly two decades fighting Western allied powers in their homeland.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called on the international community to help the Afghan government as the Taliban’s resurgence looks increasingly decisive. Ghani said he hopes international leaders will help, “stop the civil war imposed on Afghans and prevent more innocent deaths and the loss of 20 years of achievements.”
The Taliban’s advance on Kabul gathered pace recently after weeks of massive territorial expansion beginning in May. Its army has regained control of dozens of key cities and much of North, Southern, and Western Afghanistan.
The Afghan army surrendered much of the county without a fight. According to U.S. officials, the army numbered some 300,000 soldiers not long ago, but has collapsed to 1/6th its size as soldiers surrender under the Taliban advance.
The Obama Administration had hoped to turn Afghanistan’s army into a capable, independent fighting force that could maintain national sovereignty and security in the region. But those hopes fell apart in short order under a catastrophic lack of food. Without enough to eat, Afghanistan’s soldiers were weary, and felt abandoned as the Taliban advanced with a renewed burst of energy as the United States prepared its withdrawal from the region.
The New York Times reported that a police officer in Afghanistan’s second largest city of Kandahar, yelled out about the meager food rations in frustration as the city fell to the Taliban, “These French fries are not going to hold these front lines!” After weeks of fighting, police in the city were eating a cardboard box full of slimy potatoes for their daily rations.