The Taliban recaptured Afghanistan with the speed of light, especially the Kabul was one of the swiftest and peaceful. Although the US believed that it might take three months to enter Kabul. The Us has anticipated that finally, the Taliban will recapture the whole country, it was just a matter of time scale only. However, the US was dependent on Afghan National Army. Although over the last 20 years, the US spent more than $85bn, on training, equipping, and developing the Afghan national army, police, air force, and special forces. Yet, under the advance of an armed group carrying light weapons, the Afghan National Army fell apart spectacularly. Why the Afghan National Army surrendered so quickly, many reasons are explained, but few of them, I have compiled below:
Objectives: The US and NATO raised Afghan National Army with specific objectives that to prolong their occupation, facilitate them to capture natural resources of Afghanistan, suppress the local insurgencies, to maintain law and order situation with terror and power. Whereas, the Afghan Army was not convinced with their objectives and have not accepted the foreign occupation. But they have joined the Afghan National Army as there was no other job available and they need a job, reasonable income to feed their families. They were not willing to kill innocent Afghans and there were incidents the Afghan Army refused to attack innocent civilians ordered by American commanders. Even in few cases, as a resentment, some of the Afghan Army soldiers have opened fire on American and Allied forces.
Induction: The induction process of the Afghan National Army was very poor and casual, people were inducted on the recommendations of someone. There was no any sort of test, medical or checking their background. Sometimes, the Taliban were also inducted into Afghan National Army. Poor health and no education were no disqualification in most of the cases.
Training: The US and NATO have provided training only to serve their objectives and also limited training was provided as they never trusted them and were afraid that sometime in the future, they might turn up against them. Only a limited training was given to manage their bare minimum role. India and Israel have also provided the training to use excessive force to suppress the local people and terrify them with abuse of powers. They have not trained appropriately, for a fight with the Taliban.
Weapons and ammunition: The US and NATO were afraid that if they equipped them with all sorts of latest weapons, it might be a threat for them. So only limited weapons and ammunition were given to them. Advance technology and the latest weapons were very limited.
Career structure: There was no specific career structure or promotion system. Randomly, few are promoted and others were not. Even the Chief of Army Staff was appointed without any policy. He was as young as 35. Whereas in other countries, the chief of Army staff is appointed with an experience of 35 years in the service, and grown-up from lower ranks to highest gradually with the passage of time and experience. The rapid promotion, with having sufficient experience on each level, might not be appropriate.
Politicization: Army was politicized and President Ashraf Ghani kept on changing the senior commands very often, creating a lack of confidence in other officers in the Army. The chain of command was never respected, and contrary orders were given from local governors and politicians from time to time.
Corruption: Corruption is a special gift of the US legacy, where ever they go, promote corruption. No exception in the case of Afghanistan, although the US spent trillions of dollars in Afghanistan, a sizeable amount sunk into corruption. The US official as well as the Afghan ruling elite was the beneficiary of such massive corruption. There was only a portion of such a huge amount used on the grounds. The trickle-down impact was almost negligible. Actual soldiers who were supposed to fight on the ground were ignored and the elite was living a luxurious life. The disparity between the common man and the ruling elite has grown too far and has resulted in mistrust among the rulers and the public. The same was in the Army, the gap between soldiers and officers grew too huge and has resulted in disgruntle and mistrust.
Finally, the Taliban’s smart military strategy of taking control of major border crossings, main highways, and besieging the big cities crippled Kabul’s ability to send reinforcements and supplies. Many army units were cut off from the rest of the country and thus were forced to either flee across the border neighboring countries or to dissolve. Despite receiving years of training and billions of dollars worth of equipment, the Afghan National Army never developed the capacity to stand on its own. In fact, it was entirely dependent on the US and NATO troops to protect urban areas. Once these forces began to withdraw, there was no barrier to stop the advance of the Taliban and the weaknesses and incompetence that was covered up by foreign military presence quickly came to the fore. It was expected that the son of the soil will win at the end, and invaders and their supporters have to surrender.