Washington, United States:
A protracted civil war in Afghanistan is more likely than a rapid Taliban seizure of power as a total US military withdrawal approaches, the former Washington ambassador to Kabul said on Sunday.
Insurgents have seized five provincial capitals since Friday in a blitzkrieg offensive, nearly a month before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that triggered the US-led invasion.
“A protracted civil war is a more likely outcome than a quick takeover of the entire country by the Taliban. They are being very smart about it. They are not launching any major attacks in Kabul,” said the former US ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker. “This week” from ABC.
Kunduz, Sar-e-Pul and Taloqan in the north diverged within hours on Sunday, lawmakers, security sources and city residents confirmed.
Kunduz is the Taliban’s most significant advance since insurgents launched an offensive in May when foreign forces began the final stages of their withdrawal.
It has been a perennial target for the Taliban, who briefly invaded the city in 2015 and again in 2016, but never managed to hold it for long.
“They are doing what they are doing in part to create a climate of fear and panic. They are doing it wonderfully,” Crocker added, referring to the Taliban.
The withdrawal of foreign forces is due to end by the end of this month, and Crocker said he does not see any circumstances under which the United States would send its troops back.
“President (Joe) Biden has made that clear. We will go out and stay out,” the diplomat added. “He is the owner. It is already an indelible stain on his presidency.”
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)