2021 Taliban offensive

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2021 Taliban offensive
Part of the War in Afghanistan and the Taliban insurgency
2021 Taliban Offensive.png
A map of Afghanistan showing the Taliban offensive (7 Aug 2021)
Date1 May 2021 – 15 August 2021
(3 months and 2 weeks)
Taliban captures 148 districts increasing the number of districts it controls in Afghanistan to 224[7][8]

Afghanistan Taliban

Supported by:
Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)[3][4]
 United States[5][6]
Commanders and leaders
Afghanistan Hibatullah Akhundzada
Afghanistan Abdul Ghani Baradar
Afghanistan Sirajuddin Haqqani[1]
Afghanistan Mohammad Yaqoob
Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani
Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah
Afghanistan Bismillah Khan Mohammadi[9]
Afghanistan Ahmad Massoud[10]
United States Joe Biden
United States Gen. Mark Milley
United States Gen. Kenneth McKenzie[11]
Units involved

Taliban forces

Other militant groups

Afghan security forces

Pro-government militias[10][17][18]

  • Public Uprising Forces[19]

United States Air Force[20] United States Navy

Casualties and losses

Afghanistan Taliban
9,819+ killed[22] (Afghan government claim)

  • Unknown number of artillery gun and military vehicles destroyed[11]

Afghanistan Afghanistan
1,537 killed[23]
1,581+ deserted[24]
Hundreds of troops surrendered[25]

1,031 civilians killed[28][23]
1,609 civilians injured[28]

A current military offensive by the Taliban and allied military groups, including al-Qaeda,[3] against Afghanistan and its allies began on 1 May 2021.[29] It happened around the same time as the withdrawal of most U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

The offensive is known for the quick territorial gains of the Taliban, as well as its domestic and international problems.[30]

By 15 July, over a third of Afghanistan's 421 districts were controlled by the Taliban,[31][32] and by 21 July, half of Afghanistan was under Taliban control.

On 22 July, the British Foreign Office's reports said that the Afghan military could fall apart and the Taliban could soon return to power in Kabul as a result of of NATO soldiers' withdrawal.[33] The Foreign Office's report said that the British embassy in Kabul might need to close.[33] The British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, believed that Kabul would be safe for the whole of 2021.[33]

On 10 August, U.S. officials said that the Afghan capital, Kabul, could fall to the Taliban within 30 to 90 days. On 15 August, the Associated Press reported that the Taliban had reached and captured Kabul. This caused the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan's government to fall. The Taliban said that they were awaiting a "transfer" of power.[34] On 15 August, following the near seizure of the capital, the Taliban occupied the Presidential Palace after the incumbent President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.[35]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Joscelyn, Thomas (25 June 2021). "Taliban's deputy emir issues guidance for governance in newly seized territory". FDD's Long War Journal. Retrieved 19 July 2021.
  2. Joscelyn, Thomas (7 June 2021). "U.N. report cites new intelligence on Haqqanis' close ties to al Qaeda". FDD's Long War Journal. Retrieved 19 July 2021.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Roggio, Bill (12 July 2021). "Taliban advances as U.S. completes withdrawal". FDD's Long War Journal. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  4. K J M Varma (5 July 2021). "Insurgent groups against Pakistan, China step up attacks amid Taliban offensive in Afghanistan: Report". Yahoo. Retrieved 18 July 2021. During the recent fighting in eastern and southern districts of Afghanistan, the Afghan Taliban has been supported by the TTP insurgents [...] According to a UN monitoring report in June, some 5,000 TTP militants are currently based in Afghanistan.
  5. Seldin, Jeff (5 May 2021). "US Airstrikes Target Taliban as Fighting Intensifies". Voice of America. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  6. "US air force targets Taliban position in northern Afghanistan, media reports". Afghanistan Times. 26 June 2021. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  7. Roggio, Bill (15 July 2021). "Nearly half of Afghanistan's provincial capitals under threat from Taliban". FDD's Long War Journal. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  8. Roggio, Bill (25 July 2021). "Mapping Taliban Contested and Controlled Districts in Afghanistan". FDD's Long War Journal. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Joscelyn, Thomas (5 August 2021). "Taliban 'martyrdom' unit attacks Afghan defense minister's home in Kabul". FDD's Long War Journal. Retrieved 4 August 2021.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Afghan militias forced to fight Taliban blame America's 'abandonment'". PBS. 7 July 2021. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Horton, Alex (25 July 2021). "U.S. prepared to continue airstrikes against Taliban, top commander says". Washington Post. Retrieved 8 August 2021.
  12. "Afghan Taliban Documents Training, Graduation of "313 Badri Battalion" Fighters". Retrieved 2021-07-28."Taliban Badri 313 Battalion". 29 July 2021. Archived from the original on 2 August 2021. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  13. Esfandiari, Golnaz; Ahmadi, Mumin (9 July 2021). "Fighting The Taliban Was 'Suicide': Hundreds Of Afghan Soldiers Escape To Tajikistan". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  14. Why India must both engage the Taliban and contend with it
  15. "Afghan Air Force Hurt by Inoperable Aircraft - Afghan Lawmakers". Washington Post. 23 July 2021.
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Special Report: Afghan pilots assassinated by Taliban as U.S. withdraws". Reuters. 9 July 2021. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  17. O’Donnell, Lynne (1 July 2021). "With the Militias in Afghanistan". Foreign Policy. The Slate Group. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  18. Gibbons-Neff, Thomas; Rahim, Najim (17 July 2021). "Back to Militias, the Chaotic Afghan Way of War". New York Times. Mazar-i-Sharif. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  19. "Afghans chant 'Allahu Akbar' in defiant protests against Taliban". Retrieved 3 August 2021."Ordinary Afghans join battle against Taliban in 'people's uprising'". Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  20. "US launched several airstrikes in support of Afghan forces". Washington Post. 22 July 2021. Archived from the original on 12 August 2021. Retrieved 9 August 2021.
  21. Evans, Michael; Tomlinson, Hugh (2 August 2021). "US abandoning Afghanistan to civil war, says General David Petraeus". The Times. Retrieved 8 August 2021. America has been launching airstrikes in support of Afghan forces, using armed Reaper drones that take up to eight hours to reach a target from their base in the Gulf as well as fighter aircraft from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, and from the carrier USS Ronald Reagan,
  22. "Press Release". Afghan Ministry of Defense. Afghan Ministry of Defense. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Faizi, Fatima; Abed, Fahim; Rahim, Najim (3 June 2021). "Afghan War Casualty Report: May 2021". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 July 2021.Faizi, Fatima; Rahim, Najim (1 July 2021). "Afghan War Casualty Report: June 2021". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 July 2021.Faizi, Fatima; Timory, Asadullah (15 July 2021). "Afghan War Casualty Report: July 2021". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 August 2021.Faizi, Fatima (5 August 2021). "Afghan War Casualty Report: August 2021". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  24. "Some 1,500 Afghan soldiers crossed into Tajikistan over past 2 weeks - Tajik rep to CSTO". Interfax. 7 July 2021. Retrieved 9 July 2021."Another group of Afghan military personnel given refuge by Army: ISPR". Express Tribune. 26 July 2021. Retrieved 26 July 2021.Farmer, Ben (9 July 2021). "Taliban take key border crossing with Iran as group claims to control 85% of Afghanistan's territory". The Telegraph.
  25. Schmitt, Eric (21 July 2021). "U.S. military official says a 'complete Taliban takeover' is possible in Afghanistan". New York Times. In response to the Taliban offensives, hundreds of Afghan troops have surrendered, giving up their U.S.-supplied equipment and fleeing, sometimes into neighboring countries. Afghan government counterattacks have had limited success."America leaves Afghanistan on the brink of collapse". The Economist. 8 July 2021. Retrieved 11 July 2021. Many districts are being taken not by force, but are simply handed over. Soldiers and policemen have surrendered in droves, leaving piles of American-purchased arms and ammunition and fleets of vehicles.Zucchino, David; Rahim, Najim (27 May 2021). "A Wave of Afghan Surrenders to the Taliban Picks Up Speed". New York Times. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  26. Gibbons-Neff, Thomas; Cooper, Helene; Schmitt, Eric (19 June 2021). "Departure of U.S. contractors poses myriad problems for Afghan military". New York Times. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  27. 27.0 27.1 McCarthy, Naill (6 July 2021). "The Afghan Military's Catastrophic Equipment Losses". Statista.
  28. 28.0 28.1 Graham-Harrison, Emma (26 July 2021). "Afghanistan civilian casualty figures at record high, UN says". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  29. "Taliban launches major Afghan offensive after deadline for U.S. pullout". Reuters. 4 May 2021. Retrieved 7 August 2021.De Luce, Dan; Yusufzai, Mushtaq; Smith, Saphora (25 June 2021). "Even the Taliban are surprised at how fast they're advancing in Afghanistan". NBC News. Retrieved 8 July 2021.
  30. Baker, Rodger (9 August 2021). "Challenging Our Understanding of the Taliban". Stratfor. Archived from the original on 11 August 2021. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  31. Gannon, Kathy (13 July 2021). "Official: Afghan delegation, Taliban to talk peace in Qatar". AP News. Retrieved 15 July 2021.
  32. "Afghanistan: Taliban offers ceasefire for return of prisoners". BBC News. 15 July 2021. Retrieved 15 July 2021.
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 Wintour, Patrick; Stewart, Heather (1 September 2021). "Foreign Office report warned in July of rapid Taliban takeover of Afghanistan". The Guardian. Retrieved 2021-09-02.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  34. Seir, Ahmed; Faiez, Rahim; Akghar, Tameem; Gambrell, John. "Official: Taliban negotiators head to presidential palace". Associated Press. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 15 August 2021. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  35. "Afghan president says he left country to avoid bloodshed". Reuters. 15 August 2021. Retrieved 16 August 2021.