American intelligence agencies predicted last week that the government of Afghanistan could fall as soon as six months after the U.S. withdrawal, officials told The Wall Street Journal.
The new assessment reportedly takes into account a series of major Taliban victories and less resistance from Afghan forces than was previously expected.
The Taliban on Wednesday celebrated recent territorial gains, including the capture of several key northern districts, The Journal reported. The insurgent group declared its “manifest victory and triumph.”
The weakness of the government has led vulnerable Afghans to form militias and makeshift armies, The New York Times reported.
“[The government] forced us to pick up guns,” Abdul Ghani Alipur, a militia commander, told The Times. “We must carry guns to protect ourselves.”
A bipartisan panel of military officials and politicians, alarmed by the fragility of the Afghan government and the successes of the Taliban, recommended in February that the U.S. slow its withdrawal, according to The Times.
Though thousands of U.S. officials and soldiers remain in Afghanistan, the Biden administration is in the process of handing over its military installations to the Afghan government.
All U.S. forces are set to leave the country by Sept. 11.
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