‘We were betrayed’: Top Afghan general points finger at Trump, Biden and Ghani for Taliban victory

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Donald Trump, Joe Biden, former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani — these are just a few of the people who “betrayed” Afghanistan and “doomed” the country to Taliban rule, according to a scathing post-mortem of the war effort from a former top general in the Afghan military.

“We were betrayed by politics and presidents,” Sami Sadat, a three-star general who once commanded Afghanistan’s special forces, wrote in an opinion piece in The New York Times on Wednesday. “This was not an Afghan war only; it was an international war, with many militaries involved. It would have been impossible for one army alone, ours, to take up the job and fight. This was a military defeat, but it emanated from political failure.”

The fall of Afghanistan began long before the Taliban overran Kabul in recent weeks, according to the general. First, he wrote, there was the Trump administration’s February 2020 peace agreement with the hardline group, which “doomed” the country because it set the terms for an American withdrawal without any concrete power sharing between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

That, according to Mr Sadat, put an “expiration date” on the US presence in the country, allowing the Taliban to lie in wait and retake the country once they left.

Next, the general argued, the Biden administration continued to go through with the Trump administration’s general plan, pulling back troop levels as well as the thousands of military contractors essential to maintaining supplies for troops and technology like helicopters and drones that gave the Afghan army advantages over the Taliban.

“It pains me to see Mr Biden and Western officials are blaming the Afghan Army for collapsing without mentioning the underlying reasons that happened,” the general added in his article. “Political divisions in Kabul and Washington strangled the army and limited our ability to do our jobs.”

Joe Biden has defended his exit from the country, arguing the US could not fight its way to a stable Afghanistan.

American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves,” he said during remarks last week.

The Afghan army has suffered mightily during the war in Afghanistan, with about one fifth of its total fighting force, 66,000 people, dying over the last 20 years. That would be the equivalent of 260,000 American troops dying, given the relative sizes of the two military forces.

Finally, the top commander blamed former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani and his government for a culture of corruption “that really is our national tragedy.”

Mr Ghani fled the country as the Taliban approached Kabul, defending his decision as necessary to keep the peace.

“If I had stayed, countless of my countrymen would be martyred and Kabul would face destruction,” he wrote on social media.

He is now staying in the UAE on humanitarian grounds.

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