By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
The New York Times newspaper investigation showed that since May 1, at least 26 outposts and bases in just four provinces — Laghman, Baghlan, Wardak, and Ghazni — have surrendered.
The troubles reportedly began early May when Taliban fighters besieged seven rural Afghan military outposts across the wheat fields and onion patches in eastern Afghanistan.
The insurgents enlisted village elders to visit the outposts bearing a message: Surrender or die, The Times reported.
By mid-month, security forces had surrendered all seven outposts after extended negotiations, according to village elders cited in the report.
At least 120 soldiers and police were given safe passage to the government-held provincial center in return for handing over weapons and equipment.
The surrenders come just weeks after U.S. President Joe Biden announced a complete withdrawal of American forces by September 11.
He chooses that date as it marks the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks against the United States, which promoted the U.S.-led military intervention in Afghanistan.
But it violates a peace agreement reached by President Donald J. Trump with the Taliban last year. Under that deal, troops would withdraw by May 1 in exchange for security guarantees.
The Taliban has already said it won’t participate in peace talks until a full withdrawal is complete. There were officially still 2,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, though American officials said hundreds more were actually in the troubled nation.
Those opposing a full withdrawal fear that Afghan women could be among the biggest losers if the Taliban returns to power, as some military experts predict.
It would also further negatively impact the tiny Christian minority in Afghanistan as the Taliban strictly implements Islam.
The Taliban, a predominantly Pashtun, Islamic fundamentalist group, ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001. The U.S.-led invasion toppled the regime for providing refuge to terror group al-Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden.
The conflict essentially crippled al-Qaeda and led to the death of Osama bin Laden, viewed as the architect of the September 11 attacks.
However, the Taliban regrouped across the border in Pakistan and led an insurgency against the U.S.-backed government in Kabul for more than nineteen years.
With U.S. troops withdrawing, morale is diving within the Afghan military.
The Taliban is reportedly seizing on each surrender as a propaganda victory, and each collapse feeds the next in the Afghan countryside.
Despite the uncertainty, Biden says his withdrawal plan sets a firm end to two decades of war that killed more than 2,200 U.S. troops, wounded 20,000, and cost as much as $1 trillion.
“I’ve concluded it is time to end America’s longest war. It is time for American troops to come home,” Biden said last month. I am now the fourth American president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats,” he noted. “I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth.”
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