Many Afghan soldiers reportedly escaped to Pakistan as the Taliban attacks on districts and provincial capitals intensified weeks before the Afghan government’s collapse in August 2021, a US report revealed.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) released an interim report, “Collapse of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces,” with new revelations about the withdrawal.
According to the report, the Taliban had started seizing border crossings with Tajikistan, Iran, and Pakistan in July 2021, depriving the Afghan government of critical customs revenues.
This led to the collapse of the Afghan National Army and the escape of soldiers to bordering countries.
Almost 380,000 Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) were trained by the US army during its occupation of Afghanistan from 2002 until August 2021.
US President Joe Biden pinned high hopes on the army not to allow Taliban to control Kabul and to resist its advance towards Afghan cities.
However, the Army collapsed like a house of cards in wake of the US forces’ withdrawal.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported early this year that more than 300,000 Afghans had fled to Pakistan between August 2021 and January 2022. But it did not say how many of those were from the military.
For two decades, at a cost of nearly $90 billion, the United States—in partnership with NATO and the Afghan government—supported the development of the ANDSF, which consisted of the Afghan National Army (ANA), Afghan Air Force (AAF), and Afghan National Police (ANP).
Over that period, the US deployed military and civilian personnel to train, advise, and mentor Afghan soldiers, police, and ministry officials.
However, when US forces withdrew and the army collapsed, large numbers of those weapons fell into Taliban hands.
It is not clear what the fleeing Afghan army soldiers are doing in Pakistan and whether they pose any threat to the country's national security.
But Pakistan is certainly hosting a large number of Afghan refugees in the country's border towns and cities.