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The United States and its partners spent 20 years and nearly $90 billion to build the Afghan security forces. There is plenty of blame to go around for their rapid collapse and the subsequent takeover of the country by the Taliban. The special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR) said in a recent report that the primary factor was the U.S. decision to withdraw military forces and contractors through the U.S.-Taliban agreement under Trump and the withdrawal announcement by Biden.

  • Jonathan Schroden, director of the Countering Threats and Challenges Program at CNA, said he disagrees because the six main factors listed in the report are all equally important.
  • Schroden explained, as the report concluded, that the U.S. prioritized the operational goal of going after the Taliban over long-term sustainability of the forces.
  • He said the Defense Department has not shown much appetite for making changes based on lessons learned from Afghanistan, but he is hopeful the Afghanistan War Commission will help.

Watch the full interview for more:


SEE ALSO | Defense and State Department officials on ‘unprecedented’ Afghanistan evacuation

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