As many as 35 Afghan Army personnel have reportedly reached the Pakistan border after the Taliban captured three Afghan military posts in the border district of Kunar. The siege was carried out by the Afghan Taliban in the Ghashi Kandaw area of Marawara District that forced Afghan forces to run for lives towards Pakistan.
The Taliban have launched relentless offensives across Afghanistan in the past two months, gobbling up dozens of districts as Afghan security forces have largely consolidated their power in the country’s major urban areas.
At least 35 Afghan Army personnel have fled to Pakistan after #Taliban seized three Afghan military posts in Ghashi Kandaw area of Marawara District Kunar Province bordering Pakistan.
— Farzana Shah (@Jana_Shah) July 2, 2021
The ability of Afghan forces to maintain control of the Bagram airfield will likely prove pivotal to maintaining security in Kabul and keeping pressure on the Taliban.
A lot of insecurity
Media reports say the Pentagon will probably retain about 600 US troops in Afghanistan to guard the vast US diplomatic compound in Kabul.
Residents from Bagram said security will only deteriorate with the exit of foreign forces.
“The situation is already chaotic… there is a lot of insecurity and the government does not have (enough) weapons and equipment,” Matiullah, who owns a footwear shop in Bagram bazaar, told AFP.
“Since they started the withdrawal, the situation has got worse. There is no work… there is no business,” said Fazal Karim, a bicycle mechanic. Over the years the mini-city has been visited by hundreds of thousands of US and NATO service members and contractors.
At one point it boasted swimming pools, cinemas and spas — and even a boardwalk featuring fast-food outlets such as Burger King and Pizza Hut. The base also housed a prison that held thousands of Taliban and jihadist inmates.
Bagram was built by the US for its Afghan ally during the Cold War in the 1950s as a bulwark against the Soviet Union in the north.
Ironically, it became the staging point for the Soviet invasion of the country in 1979, and the Red Army expanded it significantly during its near-decade-long occupation.
When Moscow pulled out, Bagram became central to the raging civil war — it was reported that at one point the Taliban controlled one end of the three-kilometer (two-mile) runway and the opposition Northern Alliance the other.