The United States’ decision for military withdrawal, corruption of the Afghan government, and lack of ownership led to the collapse of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), according to a report.
In its interim report titled, “Collapse of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces: An Assessment of the Factors That Led to Its Demise,” the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) pointed out the reasons why, after 20 years and nearly $90 billion in US security assistance, the ANDSF was ill-prepared to sustain security following the US withdrawal.
The report clearly dispels the impression created by some elements shifting the blame for the takeover of Taliban to Pakistan, clearly stating the single most important near-term factor in the ANDSF’s collapse was the US decision to withdraw the US military and contractors from Afghanistan through the US-Taliban agreement in February 2020.
In total, for the United States alone, the mission spanned four US presidents, 10 ambassadors, seven Secretaries of State, eight Secretaries of Defense, 12 CSTC-A commanders, eight CENTCOM commanders, and 18 US and coalition ISAF/Resolute Support commanders.
Counting the corruption among major factors, the report stated that the Afghan government’s corruption harmed the ANDSF capabilities and morale.
In June 2020, the Department of Defence determined that corruption remained a “key vulnerability” in ANDSF combat power and combat readiness. The theft of resources like fuel, funded through the Afghan Security Forces Fund (ASFF), underscored this vulnerability.
“Corrupt ANDSF officials at all institutional levels degraded security, force readiness, and overall capabilities… In Afghanistan the culture of impunity generally started at the top and then normalized extortion, embezzlement, fraud, and other abusive behaviors within the entire system. APP