Yaroslav Trofimov, in the Wall Street Journal, explains that Biden withdrew the air support too soon that is essential for the supply and defense of the US-style Afghan military we created and trained.
You can’t defeat superior numbers of less effectively armed troops unless you can keep the food, water, ammunition, and medical supplies coming in, and unless you can clobber human wave attack with air support. Take that support away and you lose.
This spectacular failure stemmed from built-in flaws of the Afghan military compounded by strategic blundering of the government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. The Taliban, meanwhile, took advantage of the U.S.-sponsored peace talks to deceive Kabul about their intentions as they prepared and executed a lighting offensive.
The Afghan army fighting alongside American troops was molded to match the way the Americans operate. The U.S. military, the world’s most advanced, relies heavily on combining ground operations with air power, using aircraft to resupply outposts, strike targets, ferry the wounded, and collect reconnaissance and intelligence.
In the wake of President Biden’s withdrawal decision, the U.S. pulled its air support, intelligence and contractors servicing Afghanistan’s planes and helicopters. That meant the Afghan military simply couldn’t operate anymore. The same happened with another failed American effort, the South Vietnamese army in the 1970s, said retired Lt. Gen. Daniel Bolger, who commanded the U.S.-led coalition’s mission to train Afghan forces in 2011-2013.
“There is always a tendency to use the model you know, which is your own model,” said Gen. Bolger, who now teaches history at North Carolina State University. “When you build an army like that, and it’s meant to be a partner with a sophisticated force like the Americans, you can’t pull the Americans out all of a sudden, because then they lose the day-to-day assistance that they need,” he said.