As American forces withdraw from Afghanistan, Taliban forces are grabbing territory, along with Afghanistan military weapons and vehicles in the process.
Insurgents have taken 900 guns, 70 sniper rifles, and 65 vehicles, according to Sky News. The Taliban now control roughly a third of all 421 districts and district centers in Afghanistan, the Associated Press reported.
Reuters has reported more than 1,000 members of Afghanistan's military have fled the country, crossing over into Tajikistan, leading Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon to mobilize 20,000 military reservists to strengthen the border.
Since mid-April, when President Joe Biden announced the end to Afghanistan’s "forever war," the Taliban have been making strides throughout the country, with the most significant gains in the the northern half of the country, a traditional stronghold of the U.S.-allied warlords who helped defeat them in 2001, the AP noted.
The gains in northeastern Badakhshan province have mostly come to the insurgent movement without a fight, Mohib-ul Rahman, a provincial council member, told the AP, blaming Taliban successes on the poor morale of troops who are mostly outnumbered and without resupplies.
"Unfortunately, the majority of the districts were left to Taliban without any fight," he told the news agency.
In three days, 10 districts fell to Taliban — eight without a fight, he added.
In addition, hundreds of Afghan army, police and intelligence troops surrendered their military outposts and fled to the Badakhshan provincial capital of Faizabad, Rahman told the AP.
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, warns Biden’s hard date for withdrawal —by Sept. 11 — will just fuel even more aggressive actions by the Taliban.
"We can’t ignore the reality on the ground in Afghanistan," Ernst wrote in a Fox News op-ed. "Many of the threats that brought us there in the first place are spreading through the region."
Former President Donald Trump's plan would have had U.S. forces leave even sooner, as he had agreed to withdraw by May 1 of this year. Biden pushed that deadline off by several months.
Former assistant secretary of state Robert Charles, who served under President George W. Bush, told Fox News if Trump had managed "to secure a peace accord that he was on track to secure," the situation would be different now.
Charles called the current situation "a layered security failure," pointing to the lack of American ability to keep terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda and ISIS at bay and the departure of an American carrier from the western Pacific, which he said allows China to enter and assume control of resources, Fox News reported.
"It's sort of a public relations disaster, a physical security disaster, and a foreign policy disaster," Charles told the news outlet.
Fran Beyer is a writer with Newsmax and covers national politics.
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