The US, which arrived in Afghanistan in 2001 following the 11 September terrorist attacks, in April announced a withdrawal of troops, to be completed by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. However, as it hands over its military bases to Kabul’s forces, the Taliban is already taking over some of the now-unguarded districts and provinces.
The government of Afghanistan, led by President Ashraf Ghani, could collapse between six to 12 months after the US completes its military withdrawal from the country, according to a revised assessment from the American intelligence community, cited by The Wall Street Journal.
Some officials cited by the outlet offered an even more dismal prognosis, suggesting the government could hold out for no more than three months against a buoyed Taliban.
The new estimate is in stark contrast to a previous, more optimistic analysis of the situation that claimed Afghanistan’s government could hold its own for as long as two years after the American troops leave.
The US has already removed more than half of its 3,500 troops from the region, with the remainder scheduled to leave by the 11 September deadline set by President Joe Biden in April.
As Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin testified during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Thursday to say there’s “medium” risk with extremist groups taking over Afghanistan within two years of US troop pullout, some lawmakers signaled they were upset with Washington’s decision.