So says researcher Christian Berg Harpviken at the Brio Institute for Peace Research. He is considered one of Norway’s leading experts on the conflict in Afghanistan, in which Norway has been heavily involved over two decades.
Norway entered Afghanistan in early 2001/2002. On April 14 of this year, it became clear that NATO was going to withdraw. On Friday, June 25, the last Norwegian soldiers returned home from Afghanistan. About 9,200 Norwegians served in the country.
This is so sad and disappointing
But the war was by no means over. In Afghanistan, the Taliban are making rapid strides and constantly occupying new ground. Violent hostilities erupted with the withdrawal of international forces.
Government forces suffered heavy losses, and there are almost daily reports that new cities and provinces have fallen into the hands of the Taliban.
– This is very sad and disappointing. It’s a brutal reality. The idea that the United States and NATO did not succeed in Afghanistan was read and embraced. Norway succeeded in joining its allies and strengthening relations with them. It was the most important thing along the way, Harpviken tells ABC News.
– It’s a tragic situation
It is believed that both the United States and NATO underestimated the Taliban’s capabilities and willingness to conduct offensive actions during the withdrawal.
It’s a tragic situation, and it’s a bit surprising that the Taliban are escalating the army so aggressively, that they’re succeeding. We see a pattern in the areas they occupied. It is about controlling important traffic arteries and intersections. They now control highly centralized roads, which could prevent the government from producing supplies. The Taliban are quickly positioned and can target central cities and a number of provincial capitals where they are in a position to escalate. Researcher Brio explains that there is now a very high fear that provincial capitals may fall.
Occupy 90 out of 400 counties in the country
The Taliban have controlled nearly 90 of the country’s 400 districts since the United States and NATO began withdrawing on May 1. A few days ago, Taliban fighters occupied the border post on the border with Uzbekistan, which is one of the most important strategic border posts of the Afghan government.
The Taliban also took control of the main Afghan border crossing with Tajikistan. In Kunduz province, about 5,000 families have fled their homes after days of fighting between the Taliban and Afghan government forces.
The United States is trying to save tree trunks
The deal with the Taliban, negotiated by the Trump administration, believes that Harpviken was unprofessional and naive, and that this is what Afghanistan now has to pay for.
If you look at the agreement between the United States and the Taliban movement in February of last year, it is an agreement in which one side appears as a seasoned professional negotiator, while the other does not. In this case, the Americans are the professionals, but they stand with their heads under their arms. While the requirements of the United States are clearly defined, the requirements of the Taliban are broadly defined. Now we see that the United States is trying to save the logs as they withdraw from the country.
It impairs the ability of the United States to exit on sound credit
– What allows this agreement to the Taliban to continue its offensive?
The Taliban promised not to direct attacks on the United States and its allies, but the Taliban do not consider government forces to be allies of the United States. So they intensified the fight against the Afghan government. The agreement, which is in fact a withdrawal agreement, should give the United States first and foremost the opportunity to withdraw with a certain proper honor. Surprisingly, the Taliban are now defying the United States and eroding the United States’ ability to come out with credit., thought Harpviken.
– Not many soldiers were near the battlefield
In city after city, province after province, government forces are now being pushed out. Several times it almost happened without a fight. Harpviken explains it as follows:
Very large portions of government forces are poorly trained. It may take a few weeks. Many soldiers are illiterate and have never been near the battlefield. This is also why the loss numbers are so great. Within one year, he lost about 2% of the forces. As many as 25 percent of the troops have just disappeared, and many have deserted. When the Taliban intensify their attacks and put pressure on local, religious and conservative leaders, surrenders are often negotiated without shooting. Some are happy to avoid skirmishes in their areas.
Video: Norwegian soldiers contributed during military operations at the hotel in Kabul
– Will force a reaction
Is it possible that the United States and NATO will cancel the withdrawal if the Taliban continue their offensive and threaten the government in Kabul?
– Very unlikely, because the commander in chief of the armed forces is called Joe Biden. For 20 years, he believed that this is a war in which the United States should not stand. The only thing that can change that is a serious attack on the international forces before they withdraw. will force a reaction. Another example is an international terrorist attack that can be traced back to the Taliban and Afghanistan.
The Taliban succeeds in its divisive and ruling policy
– And what about the Afghan government, can it fall, and if so, what will happen next?
– Then there can be a continuation and intense escalation of the civil war. The Taliban will likely attempt to seize power with the help of military pressure and local negotiations. We have already seen individual factions in the government coalition move to the Taliban, so the Taliban succeed in their divisive and ruling policies. If the Taliban takes control of the country, it will become an enemy that is a problem for many.
China and Russia are in a very critical situation
– How do China and Russia assess the situation in Afghanistan now?
Both China and Russia are in trouble. They don’t want a US army in the country, and so they are happy for the Americans to leave. At the same time, he opens up about Afghanistan, which is difficult to deal with, which is very real and they have a long experience with. But neither China nor Russia wants to intervene and assume military responsibility. Thus, they are in a very critical situation. The United States may want to have bases in Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, but Russia and China will block that. They do not want an American presence here.
– It’s a strong icon effect
– And what about the symbolic value of the Taliban once again to chase a foreign power out of the country?
– There is a strong symbolic effect, but if this was the Brotherhood, the symbolic effect would be stronger.. The Taliban are found nowhere else in the world, but others can draw inspiration from this. The researcher notes that the Islamic State is the enemy of the Taliban, and al-Qaeda is both a friend and an enemy.
In just a few years, he notes, the Taliban has gained greater legitimacy than ever, thanks in large part to the deal the Trump administration struck with the insurgent group.
Received on the red carpet in Beijing, Moscow and Tehran
The Taliban has accumulated very systematically in the past seven or eight years, and is also off the UN sanctions list. The Taliban also established a separate office in Qatar, and in 2018 the United States spoke with them as an equal negotiating partner, and the Taliban later entered into an agreement with the superpower. After that, the Taliban roamed the region and was greeted on the red carpet in Beijing, Moscow and Tehran. So they’ve gained a lot of international legitimacy, but it could be a very volatile situation in line with what we’ve seen in Syria, Where the West sits with a regime that they don’t want anything to do with, but stick to their noses. At the same time, Christian Berg Harpviken points out, he will have a greater moral responsibility than before.
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