An Afghan military commander accused President Joe Biden of “disrespect and disloyalty” for saying his troops had not fought the Taliban, in a scorching essay published Wednesday that concluded the war was doomed to fail. when the president announced his withdrawal.
Sami Sadat described how he was a three-star general in the Afghan army, commander of the 215 Maiwand Corps, and led 15,000 men in a battle that saw him lose hundreds of officers against the Taliban in southwestern Afghanistan.
“It is true that the Afghan army has lost its will to fight,” he wrote in the statement New York Times.
“But that’s because of the growing sense of abandonment by our American partners and the lack of respect and disloyalty that has been reflected in Biden’s tone and words over the past few months.
“The Afghan army is not without fault. It had its problems – favoritism, bureaucracy – but eventually we stopped fighting because our partners already had.
“It pains me to see Mr. Biden and Western officials blaming the Afghan military for the collapse without citing the underlying reasons that occurred.”
In total, Afghan forces have lost 66,000 people in 20 years of fighting, he said.
Maj Gen Sami Sadat wrote a blistering essay on how politicians in Kabul and Washington failed to fight the Taliban when he defended his troops against attacks they failed to fight
Sadat (left) condemned President Trump’s peace deal with the Taliban, but said “everything went downhill” when Biden announced his withdrawal deadline
Maj Gen Sadat said his troops “fought bravely to the end”. We have lost 66,000 troops in the last 20 years; that’s one-fifth of our estimated force.’
The Taliban invaded Kabul ten days ago after a lightning-fast advance across the country.
Elders negotiated deals in towns and cities while government politicians and troops faced what they believed was inevitable defeat.
Sadat said: “It was in response to those scenes that on Aug. 16, Mr. Biden said Afghan troops were collapsing, “sometimes without trying to fight.”
“But we fought bravely to the end. We have lost 66,000 troops in the last 20 years; that’s one-fifth of our estimated force.’
Western leaders have said they were surprised and Biden has repeatedly blamed Afghan troops.
“US troops cannot and should not fight in a war and die in a war that Afghan troops do not want to fight for themselves,” as he tried to defend the withdrawal after Kabul was taken.
His comments provoked anger among American veterans who helped train and advise government troops.
And in an essay dripping with dignified anger, Sadat said it was not his troops who were to blame, but politicians in both Kabul and Washington.
He blamed the corrupt government of President Ashraf Ghani and that of President Donald Trump and Biden.
Sadat said the withdrawal of 17,000 contractors and the loss of US air support meant that his forces lost their superiority over the Taliban.
‘Mr. Biden’s full and accelerated withdrawal has only exacerbated the situation. It ignored the conditions on the ground,” Sadat wrote in an essay for the New York Times
First, former President Donald Trump’s peace deal with the Taliban in Doha has doomed us to failure. It set an expiration date on US interest in the region,” he wrote.
“Still, we kept fighting. But then, in April, Mr. Biden confirmed that he would abide by Mr. Trump’s plan and set the terms for the US withdrawal.
“Then everything started going downhill.”
They lost US air support and much of their superiority over the Taliban.
By July, some 17,000 contractors had left, he wrote, and they may have grounded their Black Hawk helicopters, C-130 transport planes and drones when technical problems arose.
“The contractors also brought proprietary software and weapons systems,” he wrote.
“They physically removed our helicopter missile defense system. Access to the software we relied on to track our vehicles, weapons and personnel also disappeared. Real-time intelligence about targets also disappeared out the window.’
A highly sophisticated military machine, built on the American model, was hindered.
A Taliban gunman stands guard outside the office of the movement’s spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, in Kabul as senior figures begin to build a government
‘Mr. Biden’s full and accelerated withdrawal has only exacerbated the situation. It ignored the conditions on the ground,” he wrote.
“The Taliban had a fixed end date for the Americans and feared no military reprisals for what they did in the meantime because they sensed the lack of American will.
And so the Taliban continued to advance.
“My soldiers and I endured up to seven daily Taliban car bombings in Helmand province in July and the first week of August. Yet we held on.’
Corruption and lack of leadership in Kabul exacerbated the situation, he added. Supply lines failed, food ran out and morale collapsed among men expected to risk their lives every day.
“The last days of fighting were surreal,” he continued.
“We engaged in intense ground firefights against the Taliban as US fighter jets circled above us like spectators.
“Our sense of abandonment and betrayal was only matched by the frustration that American pilots felt and passed on to us – being forced to witness the ground war, apparently unable to help us.”
The military defeat, he concluded, was the result of political failure in two capitals.