August 11, 2021

Speed of Taliban Advance Surprises Biden Administration, Dismays U.S. Allies

Featuring Lisa Curtis

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Journalists Vivian Salama, Nancy A. Youssef

When President Biden this spring announced the decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan, his administration expected the Afghan military to defend key cities and perhaps battle the Taliban to a stalemate.

Before the current Taliban offensive, U.S. officials said they didn’t expect the takeover of any provincial capital until fall at the earliest.

Instead, a carefully planned strategy carried out by the Taliban has produced swift battlefield advances, allowing insurgents to seize a succession of provincial capitals since Friday. Three more fell Tuesday, bringing the total to nine, including several major cities.

The latest U.S. intelligence assessment said Kabul could fall to militants in as soon as a month, officials said. U.S. officials now worry that Afghan civilians, soldiers and others will flee the city ahead of a Taliban assault.

Read the full story and more from The Wall Street Journal.


  • Lisa Curtis

    Senior Fellow and Director, Indo-Pacific Security Program

    Lisa Curtis is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Indo-Pacific Security Program at CNAS. She is a foreign policy and national security expert with over 20 years of service in...