Donald Trump
U.N. Chief: 'Afghanistan Is Hanging By A Thread' As Humanitarian Aid Dries Up Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

A watchdog report has revealed the biggest factors in the rapid collapse of Afghanistan's armed forces.

The collapse was the consequence of decisions made by former U.S. President Donald Trump and his successor Joe Biden to deal directly with the Taliban and follow through on one-sided promises to withdraw troops that were essential to the state’s survival, reported FP. In a report to two congressional committees, this is the conclusion of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), which is the US government’s main Afghanistan oversight body.

According to the report, morale across Afghanistan's military ranks was "destroyed" when Trump reached a deal with the Taliban in 2020 and Biden affirmed the US withdrawal last year. John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, told NPR's Morning Edition that dynamic is the single most important reason behind the Taliban's takeover last August.

SIGAR found that Afghan troops had been built to reply on US air power and contractors to maintain sophisticated weaponry.

Sopko wrote in the new report that doing a deal with the Taliban to pull out, set in motion the collapse of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), reported Daily Mail. He further wrote that the single most important near-term factor in the ANDSF's collapse was the decision by America to withdraw the U.S. military and contractors from Afghanistan through the US-Taliban agreement in February 2020. It was signed under the "Trump Administration and confirmed by Biden in an April 2021 address to the nation."

The report further read that many Afghans thought the agreement was an act of "bad faith and a signal that the US was handing over Afghanistan to the enemy as it rushed to exit the country."

Sopko wrote that limiting airstrikes after the signing of the U.S.-Taliban agreement, left the ANDSF without a "key advantage in keeping the Taliban at bay." Afghan forces also did not have the air transport required to ferry key supplies and weapons. Sopko wrote that the forces in Afghanistan they did not have "enough ammunition, food, water, or other military equipment to sustain military engagements against the Taliban."

Elements of the deal remained secret or classified, and Afghan commanders were left in the dark about US rules of engagement.

The U.S. lacked the political will to find the resources needed to build "an entire security sector in a war-torn and impoverished country," Sopko concluded.

Joe Biden
US President Joe Biden laughs during the White House Correspondents Association gala at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC, on April 30, 2022. Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

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