“Gaining control over almost all of Afghanistan’s territory and entering Kabul in just nine days of the offensive is something surprising and has not been predicted by anyone,” Arkadiusz Legieć from the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) said in an interview with PolandIN, commenting on recent events in the Middle East. Bruce Pannier from “Radio Free Europe” and “Radio Liberty”, our second guest, pointed out that cooperation between the Taliban and Russians in the future can not be ruled out.
Taliban entered Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, on Sunday having taken advantage of the withdrawal of international armed forces led by the USA to take control of the whole country. Meanwhile the US-supported government has fallen, and the country’s president, Ashraf Ghani, has fled abroad.
Arkadiusz Legieć, Senior Research Fellow at the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) assessed the events in the Middle East as ‘unpredicted.’
“Gaining control over almost all of Afghanistan’s territory and entering Kabul in just nine days of the offensive is something surprising and has not been predicted by anyone,” he stressed.
When asked whether the reason for the Taliban offensive to be so effective was the lack of loyalty of the Afghani troops or their lack of necessary equipment, he answered that, in his opinion, the main reason was the unpreparedness of Afghanistan’s state troops to fight an open battle against Taliban fighters.
“For the whole time of the presence of the US and its allies’ troops in Afghanistan, Afghan government troops have been responsible not for fighting the Taliban but for controlling the territories already in control of the government,” he emphasised.
“There were no direct flights between Afghan troops and the Taliban on the scale we have right now,” Mr Legieć pointed out, stressing that the Afghan army could not cope with the burden of controlling the whole country after the withdrawal of NATO troops.
Russian cooperation with the Taliban is possible
When asked about Russia's stance towards the Taliban and potential cooperation between them, Bruce Pannier from “Radio Free Europe” and “Radio Liberty” answered that with the emergence of the so-called Islamic State and its presence in Afghanistan, Russia's view on Taliban changed and the country started to treat it as a ‘lesser of two evils’.
“There were many stories of Russia contacting the Taliban and that seems to be completely legitimate”, he pointed out, adding that “Russians made a big point saying that their embassy remains open in Kabul,” which, in his opinion, shows the country’s trust that the Taliban will not conduct any activities in it.
Watch the full interview with Arkadiusz Legieć here.
The full interview with Bruce Pannier is available here.