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Lack of US planning, accountability led to collapse of Afghan forces, Taliban takeover, IG report

The Afghan military's "eventual collapse ... was predictable," the watchdog wrote.

Published: February 28, 2023 11:17am

Updated: February 28, 2023 12:59pm

The United States government's lack of planning and accountability contributed to the collapse of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces and enabled the Taliban in taking over in summer 2021 to scavenger some of the $7 billion in U.S. equipment left behind, according to a new inspector general report.

The 148-page report published Tuesday by Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko also states the Taliban used the left-behind equipment to hunt down former Afghan service members.

Sopkos in her report also said the Afghan military's "eventual collapse ... was predictable."

The government watchdog group said the U.S. and Afghan governments are each responsible for the military's collapse in August 2021 as the Taliban took over Afghanistan upon the U.S. withdrawal.

"Most significantly, the United States lacked the organizational, agency-level, and inter-agency doctrine, policies, and dedicated resources to initiate the wholesale development of another nation’s army," the report states.

The Afghan government was dominated by corruption, due "to a lack of accountability and oversight by the United States," the report also states.

The inspector general interviewed 40 people for the report, and found that the Taliban is using sensitive U.S. identification equipment to find former Afghan military members.

"The Taliban are using biometric devises [sic] to detect and find former [Afghan service members]. They take fingerprints and if there is a match, they take the individual to the police station," one unidentified former Afghan military intelligence officer said.

The former officer also said that the Taliban search the homes of former service members and, "if they cannot find the individual they will go after their family members. They punish their family until the person they are looking for surrenders." 

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