19:26 GMT13 July 2020
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    The US and NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan emboldened the Taliban to carry out more daring attacks in populated areas, a general in the country's interior forces told Sputnik Dari.

    In 2015, following the US and NATO pullout, Afghanistan suffered its greatest civilian losses since 2009, half of them among women and children.

    According to Col. Gen. Abdoul Hadi Khaled, Afghanistan's former deputy Interior Minister, the US and NATO have essentially abandoned the country's army to its fate, leaving it unprepared to deal with a resurgent Taliban.

    "In 2015, the US and NATO withdrew around 140 thousand troops from Afghanistan, while the remaining 10 thousand no longer participated in the combat. At that time our army was not fully ready to act independently. The Air Force was weak, both combat and transport aviation. There was no necessary air support for ground attacks," Khaled told Sputnik Dari.

    At the same time the withdrawal emboldened the Taliban, according to Khaled, making it believe that it was them that made the international forces withdraw. As a result, the Taliban attacked several provinces, and was able to hold considerable gains.

    "On top of that, all of these bandits, robbers, thieves, Talibs and drug traffickers were able to unite. They used the most brutal tactics, they moved the war to the villages and hamlets, attacks were carried out in crowded places, in a single blast to hundreds of people perished. This explains the numerous civilian casualties," Khaled told Sputnik Dari.

    Despite the trials, the people of Afghanistan were able to withstand the Taliban in 2015, he added, despite the high cost.

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    Tags:
    civilian casualties, insurgency, NATO, Taliban, Afghanistan, United States
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