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Without American Support Taliban Steamrolls Afghan Army, Walks Away with Precision US Weapons and Armored Fighting Vehicles

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Leo Tolstoy wrote that “war is always pernicious even when successful.”

The United States’ ongoing withdrawal from Afghanistan demonstrates the truth of this claim.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid announced on Twitter that Taliban fighters overran government security forces with ease this week in the Maidan Wardak Province, just west of Kabul.

His posts included several pictures of booty from the conquest, which included American-made machine guns, rifles, carbines and armored vehicles.

“The enemy fled on seeing the casualties, and a large number of tanks, heavy and light weapons and ammunition fell into the hands of the Mujahideen,” he tweeted.

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The Taliban also allegedly shot down a government helicopter, according to Afghan media outlet Ariana News.

News of the Taliban’s successes is merely the latest in the movement’s pernicious campaign to capitalize on the U.S. withdrawal, reassert its hegemony over Afghanistan and reinstate the government that the U.S. overthrew 20 years ago.

Alas, Afghan forces are unlikely to prevent a resurgence of the Taliban without American military presence. Despite the fact that America spent more than $2 trillion on the war effort and committed two decades of training efforts, Afghan security forces are, by all measures, a joke.

Indeed, there is something of a sad understanding on the ground that the Afghanistan government will wholly cave to the Taliban once the U.S. is gone, and a hardline interpretation of Sharia will once more become the law of the land.

“We want an Islamic government ruled by the Sharia,” said Taliban shadow mayor Haji Hekmat, according to BBC News. “We will continue our jihad until [government forces] accept our demands.”

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It is a difficult statement to argue with, particularly given the Taliban’s recent acquisition of American-made armament that will now be used to further the violence directed at the Afghan government.

Such is perhaps the inevitable perniciousness of war, however, and despite the coming convulsions in Afghanistan, there is little chance that increasing the number of American troops or weapons in the nation would have any meaningful impact toward fostering peace.

It is a point stated clearly by former Michigan Rep. Justin Amash in a recent tweet.

“No more airstrikes. No more war,” Amash, a libertarian, wrote. “Twenty years of military involvement in Afghanistan — the longest war in U.S. history — provides more than enough evidence that our weapons will not end this conflict, but they will add to the bloodshed and suffering.”

Indeed, Amash is onto something for once.

The violent rush to fill the power vacuum that the U.S. is leaving in Afghanistan is a necessary result of foreign interventionism and a war carried out without meaningful objectives.

If Afghanistan falls to the Taliban or, worse yet, outright collapses, let it be a lesson that all such wars must end similarly.

It is a lesson that the United States appears dead set on learning again and again and again. Maybe this time it will stick.

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Andrew Thornebrooke is a writer specializing in foreign policy and national security. He is the executive editor of The Rearguard and a MA candidate in military history at Norwich University.
Andrew Thornebrooke is an American writer working at the crossroads of communications and policy advocacy. He is an expert in intranational conflict and national security.

He is the founder of The Rearguard, a weekly column dedicated to exploring issues of culture, defense, and security within the context of a receding Western Civilization.

Andrew is a MA candidate in military history at Norwich University where his research focuses on non-state military actors, partisanship, and the philosophy of war. A McNair Scholar and public speaker, he has presented research at several institutions including Cornell, Fordham, and the CUNY Graduate Center.

His bylines appear in numerous outlets including The Free-Lance Star, Independent Journal Review, InsideSources, The Lowell Sun, and The Western Journal.
Topics of Expertise
Defense; Military Affairs; National Security