Pakistan has confirmed the Taliban* are now in control of the key border crossing of Spin Boldak. Why are the Taliban making advances in Afghanistan and what does it say about the quality of the US-trained forces they are facing?
Pakistan confirmed this week the Taliban were in control of a key border crossing at Spin Boldak.
It is one of Afghanistan’s busiest border crossings and a main exit point for Afghan exports heading to Pakistan’s ports.
The Taliban has mounted a major offensive across Afghanistan in the last few weeks as the US and other NATO forces are pulling their troops out, leaving President Ashraf Ghani with only his own US-trained forces to defend the capital, Kabul, and numerous strategic points around the country.
The Afghan National Army (ANA) has 180,000 troops and in February the US delivered 640 vehicles. including 403 armoured Humvees, to complement the 173 US-built armoured personnel carrier they have and 44 Soviet-era battle tanks.
The Afghan air force has four C-130 Hercules transport planes, 19 Brazilian-made Embraer Super Tucano counter-insurgency planes and 95 Mil Mi-17 helicopter gunships left over from the Soviet era.
They have also ordered 143 Sikorsky UH-60 helicopters from the US but at this rate Kabul may be overrun by the Taliban before they arrive.
So why is the Taliban so successful and why has the ANA – supposedly trained by the elite of the US military – failed so spectacularly badly?
The Afghan government claims…