(New York, N.Y.) – Taliban forces seized Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, on Sunday, as the Western-backed government collapsed. That same day, President Ashraf Ghani fled the country. Given the severity of the situation, the Pentagon authorized another 1,000 troops—expanding their security presence on the ground to 6,000 troops—to help evacuate U.S. citizens and all U.S. personnel. By Monday morning, the American flag was lowered and removed from the U.S. Embassy.
“The total collapse of Afghanistan places America and its allies in a highly dangerous position. The Taliban and al-Qaeda remain allies, and it is almost certain that al-Qaeda will once again enjoy a safe haven to plot attacks abroad,” said Counter Extremism Project (CEP) CEO Ambassador Mark D. Wallace.
“America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan made the Taliban’s takeover inevitable. Nevertheless, President Biden must now prioritize evacuating our allies from the country, including the interpreters and locally employed staff who served bravely alongside our troops and our diplomats,” Wallace continued.
CEP President Fran Townsend said that the Taliban’s seizure of Afghanistan would embolden America’s adversaries and negatively impact America’s relationships.
“Moving forward, it will take increased effort to win and maintain the trust of our friends and allies,” Townsend said. This rapid withdrawal of the U.S. will undermine confidence in American commitments to existing and potential partners.”
CEP Executive Director David Ibsen commented in the Sunday Express on the situation saying, “The desire to bring our troops home and ‘No More Forever Wars’ after such a long-term commitment in Afghanistan is hugely appealing. But we must understand the consequences…According to a UN Security Council report in June, the Taliban remains ‘closely aligned’ with al-Qaeda…Support for the terrorists will only increase after foreign troops withdraw. We can expect the country to once more become a breeding ground for extremist ideas, and a training ground for militants looking to export terror.”
By August 13, the Taliban controlled 17 of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals and more than two-thirds of the country. On August 15, President Ghani fled Afghanistan and thousands of Afghans poured into Kabul’s airport as Taliban fighters entered the city. By August 16, the Taliban had laid siege to the presidential palace and took complete control of Kabul, after which the Taliban declared the war in Afghanistan had ended.
To read the CEP’s Afghanistan resource, please click here.
To read CEP’s Taliban resource, please click here.