KABUL (Pajhwok): With foreign forces leaving, the Afghan government and security forces face a serious threat from Taliban insurgents, a us watchdog warned on Thursday.
In its latest quarterly report, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) painted a grim picture of the situation in Afghanistan.
After spending $837 billion, the US military was leaving Afghanistan that remained poor, aid-dependent and conflict-affected, it said.
The potential economic growth in the short term was further limited by the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, added the independent watchdog.
John Sopko, the special inspector general, wrote in the report covering the quarter ending on June 30: “The news coming out of Afghanistan this quarter has been bleak.”
The report comes weeks before American forces are expected to complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan after two decades of war.
The Afghan government and the roughly 303,000 members of its military national police face about 75,000 Taliban fighters, who have seized scores of district in recent months.
The Afghan government was still in control of all 34 provincial capitals, including Kabul, Sopko said, adding the security personnel looked surprised and were on the back foot.
The US has spent at least $83 billion on training, equipping and sustaining the Afghan security forces.
“Civilian casualties hit a record high in May and June, according to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan,” Sopko noted.
For its part, the US military reported 2,035 civilian casualties in April and May, including 705 deaths and 1,330 injuries.
The inspector general commented: “The overall trend is clearly unfavorable to the Afghan government, which could face an existential crisis if it isn’t addressed and reversed.”
As of June 30, only 167 of 211 Afghan Air Force aircraft were operational. AAF lacked qualified air crews, the report said, adding five of the seven airframes had decreases in in June.
Taliban attacks on Afghan targets surged from 6,700 in the three months up to the Doha agreement to 13,242 in the September-November 2020 period.
The report explained attacks had stayed above 10,000 in each subsequent three-month. The Doha agreement, instead of propelling Taliban-Kabul talks, unleashed an offensive that caught government forces unprepared.