The politically dangerous strategy inevitably entails ceding territory to the Taliban insurgency. However, officials say this appears to be a military necessity as the overstretched Afghan army is trying to prevent the loss of provincial capitals, which could leave the country deeply divided.
The force consolidation, which has been publicly acknowledged but not previously reported in detail, coincides with the withdrawal of US troops before the official end of military service on August 31, at the behest of the US Army. President Joe Biden.
The Taliban insurgents are gaining control over more and more territory, which Pentagon Wednesday’s estimate has now expanded to more than half of Afghanistan’s district centers. The Taliban are also putting pressure on the outskirts of half of the provincial capital, trying to isolate them.
US officials told Reuters that US intelligence assessments have warned that the Afghan government could fail within the next six months.
An Afghan official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the “reorientation” of troops would help Kabul hold strategic territory and protect its infrastructure, including a dam built with Indian and other support. major highway.
But consolidating the military also means leaving other areas unprotected, something that’s hard to sell to Afghan communities or ethnic groups who will feel they’ve been abandoned to the Taliban.
“How do you announce this to a public that has been so disturbed – and understandably so – that the last few weeks the Taliban have taken over districts?” asked the Afghan official.
“Because a major part of this reorientation will entail, at least in the short term, the Taliban filling the void we’re leaving behind.”
General of the United States Army Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the strategy would involve “abandoning district centers” in favor of larger population centers, such as the capital, Kabul. He said the Taliban appeared to have “strategic momentum.”
“There’s a possibility of a full Taliban takeover or a possibility of any other scenario,” Milley said at a press conference Wednesday, adding: “I don’t think the end game has yet to be written. go out.”
US Marine General Kenneth McKenzie, commander of US Central Command, which oversees US forces in Afghanistan and supports Afghan troops, said after being briefed on the plan this month, he Afghanistan knows that they must choose the battle.
“You can’t defend everything. If you defend everywhere, you’re going to defend everywhere. So I think the Afghans realize they need to reinforce,” McKenzie said, without giving details. details.
He noted longstanding US concerns about the way Afghan forces position checkpoints, including in remote or hostile areas, that are particularly vulnerable or of little strategic value. .
“So I think now they’re in the process of realizing you have to retreat, you have to fortify, you have to defend those areas that are absolutely critical,” McKenzie said.
The Afghan Ministry of Defense did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Taliban’s rapid territorial gain is shaking Afghans like USA retreat from a war that has succeeded in punishment al Qaeda after the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington that brought nothing close to peace in Afghanistan.
Biden has promised financial support to Afghan forces and redoubled diplomatic efforts to revive stalled peace talks.
But the Taliban did not answer calls from 15 diplomatic missions and NATO represented in Afghanistan on Monday to prevent their military attacks. The insurgents and the Afghan government also disagreed on a truce at talks in Doha over this week’s Eid holiday.
In the past, the Taliban have called for short-term ceasefires over Eid, saying they want to let Afghans live in peace.
US military officials believe the Taliban are seeking to end the war with a victory on the battlefield, rather than at the negotiating table.
For years, the US military has been trying to get Afghan troops out of remote checkpoints – static positions that can be easily controlled by the Taliban.
“Sustaining this spread, every area is sacred thinking will simply lead to more losses,” said Jason Campbell, a former Pentagon official now working at the RAND Corporation.
“It’s just not sustainable.”
In some cases, the reorganization of the army will require the construction of new fortifications and the creation of new force complexes, the Afghan official said.
But it will also require Afghans to change their minds about how much they can do in response to Taliban attacks and skirmishes, as their Air Force is stretched and American support waned. .
Equally difficult for Kabul was explaining battlefield strategy in a way that did not offend any of Afghanistan’s ethnic groups, including the Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks. Not all areas will receive the same level of protection.
More than a quarter of a million Afghans have been forced out of their homes this year, according to United Nation.
https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/as-taliban-advances-afghan-military-overhauls-war-strategy-to-limit-losses/articleshow/84674644.cms | As Taliban advances, Afghan military overhauls war strategy to limit losses