Saleh finds leadership failure behind fall of Kunduz City
Misuse of resources and lack of coordination among security forces were the other principal reasons for the brief capture of the capital of northern Kunduz province, said Amrullah Saleh, an ex-spymaster.
The strategic city collapsed after a few hours of clashes on September 28. The Taliban remained in control of the city for three days before government forces wrested it back after a two- week operation.
Amid growing security concerns triggered by the debacle, President Ashraf Ghani appointed the team, led by Saleh, to thoroughly investigate factors behind the Taliban’s capture of the city.
Announcing the findings of the high-level panel, Saleh told a media briefing in Kabul the government forces would have been unable to retake Kunduz City in the absence air support from US-led troops.
A 30-page summary of the 200-page investigative report reveals army soldiers, policemen and intelligence operatives vacated their posts as the militants closed in on the city. As a result, the Taliban faced little resistance overrunning the city.
The former National Directorate of Security (NDS) head suggested leading businessmen, local warlords and some high-level officials had been complicit in the fiasco. Working to weaken the government was in the interest of the individuals whom Saleh dubbed as “grey networks”.
“The collapse of Kunduz City was not entirely due to a Taliban attack, which had been in the planning stages for more than a year,” Saleh remarked, accusing Pakistan of aiding the assault.
He claimed the NDS had tapped telephone conversations between Kunduz-based militant leaders and individuals from a Taliban base in Peshawar.
The investigators found no evidence of the security personnel in Kunduz lacking important supplies, such as ammunition or food. They also lashed out at the structural complexity of the security apparatus.
More than 2,000 documents related to the fall of Kunduz City were reviewed and several people, including government officials and citizens, interviews, Saleh said, adding the Taliban continued to weaken the Afghan Local Police by taking control of Aqtash, Khanabad and other districts.
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