3 min read
11 Jul

 The terrible invasion to the west of Mazar-e-Sharif has not been carried out so far. The army quickly released its own social media images to show that it had full control over the western gates. Peace is gradually established in the city; While only a few miles outside the city, government writings can be seen. Thousands of people from the villages have taken refuge in the city.

If the Kalashnikov was not seen, this photo would not be a remarkable photo; A photo whose framing is off-center and the photographer's shadow is visible at the bottom. In the background is the western gate of Mazar-e-Sharif, which is only 15 kilometers from the center of the fourth largest city in Afghanistan. In the middle, a bored-looking man stands, wearing typical local clothing and an orange turban wrapped around his head. (picture below).

 The only weapon in his right hand reveals his ambition. This photo and its caption, which had found its way among the citizens of Afghanistan through the mobile phones of the city residents, was a warning. That the Taliban have reached the gates.Panic quickly engulfed the city. 

In the past few days, the districts were taken out of the government's control one by one and fell into the hands of the Taliban. The northern regions had experienced a similar fate in recent weeks. The most worrying thing was that Balkh was known as a bastion of resistance against the Taliban. It is a long way from the center of this rebel group in the southern provinces to the city of Mazar. The sudden appearance of armed men was a clear sign of an early attack. 18-year-old Amir Mohammadi, one of the students of this city, says: "On that day, the whole city was closed and all the people went to their homes."

Now, less than three months after US President Joe Biden announced that US troops would withdraw from Afghanistan by "September 11th", the troop withdrawal is largely over. By leaving the Bagram Air Base - which is only one hour away from Kabul city by car - the 20-year war of America is actually put to an end; However, this does not mean the end of the war in Afghanistan; Whatever happens, the situation will surely get worse.

America and its allies spent billions of dollars on equipping and training Afghan security forces; Hoping that one day they will be able to stand on their own feet. Instead, they began to decline even before the US pulled out. Most districts do not fall by force; Simply delivered. Soldiers and police have surrendered in droves, leaving behind a pile of weapons, ammunition and a fleet of vehicles bought from the Americans. At the weekend, on July 3rd, when the last American soldiers left Bagram, at the same time, more than 1000 Afghan soldiers were involved in crossing the Afghan border to the neighboring country, Tajikistan, fleeing the Taliban attack. "Everyone is shocked at how quickly everything is falling apart," says a Western diplomat.

In the media, the army and the national police are called more and better equipped than their opponents; But in reality, they are ceding the battlefield to lesser forces. Soldiers complain about being abandoned by their commanders and serving without pay, lack of bread and ammunition. America's withdrawal has reduced NATO's air support, which the Afghan forces were counting on. 

Their fledgling air force - the National Police - is a poor substitute.A study by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based think tank, estimates that the Taliban have taken control of nearly half of the country's small districts. Kabul, however, strongly denies this fact and says that any retreat is temporary and all will be compensated. Some districts have been recaptured, or changed hands several times; Many of them are out of reach, have little government presence, or have little strategic importance; But a cascade of victories has empowered the Taliban. 

Diplomats based in Kabul are worried that this process will continue on the part of the Taliban.The Taliban also put on a show emphasizing their seemingly relentless progress; They treat those who surrender well and are promoting soft promotional pressure. Most of the citizens of Afghanistan are tired of government corruption that does not provide services for them; They may not be satisfied with the strictness of the Taliban; However, they are not very attached to the establishment of the current government.The terrible invasion to the west of Mazar-e-Sharif has not been carried out until now. 

The army quickly released its own social media images to show that it had full control over the western gates. Peace is gradually established in the city; While only a few miles outside the city, government writings are visible. Thousands of people from the villages have taken refuge in the city.Morteza Soltani, a 22-year-old driver from a place near the city, says that his village fell in the middle of June without a single shot being fired. He left the village; Because the Taliban were looking for volunteers to join this rebel group. "Even if they don't kill us, they limit people, and that's no way to live," he says. "I don't have money to go and the borders are closed," he says, spending the day in the magnificent Blue Mosque in Mazar-e-Sharif doing nothing.Going has become busy for many. 

At the passport office in Kabul, thousands of Afghans wait in lines, sometimes even days, to obtain travel documents, either for immediate use or just as a precaution. Many Afghans know what it means to be a refugee through "bitter experience"; Making this decision is not easy. However, the largely unexplored landscape facing the Taliban is helping them make up their minds.

"I want to go to Tehran," says Jamaluddin Behboodi, a 34-year-old Rangmal squatting with his children outside the passport office. Iran, along with Pakistan, Turkey and Central Asia, are popular options for escape; But the Corona epidemic has made travel difficult for everyone. In Mazar-e-Sharif itself, the worsening security situation has caused many countries, including Iran, to close their consulates.The outlook for the military and civilians is increasingly bleak, and so are government actions. 

Ashraf Ghani is trying to mobilize militias to create at least a pillar for the weakened army. He has turned to figures like Atta Mohammad Noor, who was an anti-Soviet and anti-Taliban commander at first, and now he is an influential person in Balkh province who also does business. Mr. Noor says in his Matla reception hall in Mazar-e-Sharif: "No matter what the cost, we will defend the city and the honor of our people."He says; A mobilization of this kind will be a temporary measure that will give the army a space to breathe and renew the group. Fresh forces will coordinate with government soldiers; However, the prospect of launching private armies of warlords makes many Afghans tremble by remembering the chaos of 1990. 

Such militias, raised along ethnic lines, tend to kill each other and the general population.Matiullah Tarakhil, a soldier from the eastern province of Laghman, thinks that the militias are lining up to gain power. "We've been through this before... people have [personal] enemies," she says, standing in line for a passport for her ailing father. Maybe these militias want to kill their opponents; But, let's say it was Talib's work."With the fusion of American and Afghan forces, the Taliban are enjoying the prospect ahead of them. They have shown little sign of abandoning a serious dialogue with the Ghani government. However, they do not rule any major cities or towns. The Taliban may not be in a hurry to do it. They generally do not have heavy weapons.

 Besides, it is possible that their numbers are too small to take the city against sustained resistance. On the 7th of June, the Taliban could not capture New Castle, which is a small town. Add to this that the new city administration will also bring new problems. They are not skilled in providing government services.Taliban spokesman Sohail Shaheen told the BBC on July 5 that the Taliban's policy was not to "seize Kabul by force". The best way forward for them is to tighten the screws and wait for an error from the government.

 America's forecasts are getting darker in this regard. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, intelligence agencies think; Mr. Ghani's government may fall within six months.Amir Mohammadi, a teenager in Mazar-e-Sharif, says that many of his peers fear a dark future. "It looks like things are going to get worse," he says. It is better to leave here."This feeling is similar to the one in Washington.


* The email will not be published on the website.
our services are currently unavailable

We apologize for the inconvenience, but our services are currently unavailable. .از شما پوزش می‌خواهیم، خدمات ما در حال حاضر قابل دسترس نیست