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Afghanistan has been the topic of discussion around us since the 15 August this year. Or perhaps even further back amongst the “initiated”. But the sequence of events in that sadly cursed land could well better be compiled based purely on the reports coming out of sources, statements, comments by those who have been involved in the country in the last few decades.

So, what happened these past few weeks?

Clearly, the idea of a Talib takeover was planned in GHQ and the steps to be taken were relayed to the negotiators in Doha. After the Taliban put forward the pre-condition of US exit as the starting point of any intra-Afghan dialogue, Pakistan leaders blamed the US for announcing the dates of withdrawal before any negotiations. This speaks volumes about the double game being played by GHQ. The announcement of dates of US withdrawal had two contrasting impacts on the ground. One, the Talibs swelled up to the idea that now the game is in their hands, while on the other hand the morale of the ANA troops shattered owing to the belief that the “Hand of God” now had a withdrawal date. 

In following weeks was the news of US formally exiting the Bagram Airbase, which was the nerve centre of air-ops. Once air bombing threat vanished, Talibs mayhem began while the Kabul regime undermined the Taliban onslaught by claiming that they control the cities while the Islamist group gains were in rural areas. This gave a sense of synthetic confidence or should I say a vital hit of dopamine to the regime backers across the world. But maybe many in the regime had already made back up plans as they saw no hope in their cause. This is what many ANA soldiers expressed when some claimed their generals asked them to surrender to the Talibs and seek peace with them. Also were reports that they weren’t getting back-up or air support on time despite numerous requests. 

Runaway president Ashraf Ghani was busy issuing declarations of unity against extremists with Afghan MPs. But the fact that bunch of Special Forces were sent to deal with an army of fighters speaks of either incompetency or some sinister game plan by a few. In few weeks, ANA troops were surrendering and were being slaughtered as reward. Many escaped into CARs or Iran. What Kabul didn’t realize or at least didn’t act on were the reports/rumours that these weren’t just an ordinary bunch of militants but led by Pakistani SSGs & this claim can’t be sidelined entirely because of the sheer manner of Taliban onslaught; not possible by a band of irregulars picked up from their homes and indoctrinated in some madrasas. Their discipline, their systematic strategy to encircle and choke Urban cities, take control of border check posts with neighbouring countries to get their cut in transit fees and also ensure to take control of even the northern districts this time (to not leave any scope of another Massoud) clearly explains who was leading them.

Soon the ANA’s air assets including its pilots were being killed or being taken over by the Talibs as well as equipments like armored trucks and vast weapon caches. Now though much of that will most likely make their way to some reverse engineering factory in China brokered by Pakistan(remember “Tom-hawk cruze massile back-engineering”?). 

But some observers also claim that the ANDSF mainly comprised ghost soldiers, while a lot amongst the rest trained only for the blank cheques of US. Their training was mainly focused to deter Taliban movements or chase away few others from the caves and not to defend against an assault of an army on them. Soon came reports of the Dostum & Atta Noor fleeing into Uzbekistan. Also, footage of the “Lion of Herat” Ismail Khan grinning with a bunch of Talibs clearly showed the collapse of the “Resistance”. 

Followed were visuals of Talibs enjoying themselves in Dostum’s palatial residence; in gyms or burning down amusement parks after having a fun time. On August 14th came reports of Talib forces at the gates of Kabul and on 15th the announcement of a “peaceful takeover” of the capital of Afghanistan. Not a single shot was fired in defense of the capital. But the ANDSF weren’t alone in their lust for money and better life. If the Russian embassy in Afghanistan is to be believed, Ghani hopped onto a jet, stashed cars full of money in helicopters (to the extent that much would spill out at the runway), and also take his expensive cars to unknown location. Now, we know the UAE has granted asylum to him.

These pieces are being published as they have been received – they have not been edited/fact-checked by ThePrint.

Also read: This is how much the Afghanistan War cost — in lives, dollars, years