Lots of good info here. You ignore, however, the essential corruption of the Afghan govt which the USA installed and supported. The USA did not work to build real democratic institutions, but allowed these corrupt Afghan opportunists to run the show. BIG mistake, and one reason why although the people don't like the Taliban, they were not motivated to support the govt either. The USA has a history of overthrowing good popular leaders and allowing dictators to take over as long as they're friendly to USA corporate interests. Guatemala, Chile, Iran, etc., etc., ad nauseum.The Wall Street Journal and many other sources, such as General David Petraeus, are advocating that the disintegrated security situation in Afghanistan is not irreversible. The Taliban is an outstanding insurgent fighting force but it is no match for a superpower's military like that of the United States. The humanitarian crisis unfolding in Kabul coupled with the inability of America's Afghanistan allies, like interpreters and base staff, to get out of Afghanistan warrants sending in American military forces to permanently secure the City of Kabul and areas of Afghanistan still under Afghanistan government control; the American military shouldn't be used to rollback all the territorial gains of the Taliban that is a task for the Afghanistan military. A permanent democratic Afghanistan government that upholds freedom and human rights is still a feasible endeavor in Afghanistan with the U.S. military's quick and sustained action in that country!
America has a proud history of using its military forces to stop a humanitarian crisis from unfolding. In 2011, when the brutal Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, was trying to put down a revolt and his forces were attacking the rebel held City of Benghazi with its seven hundred thousand occupants facing large scale death, American sent in its Delta Special Forces to train and advise the Libyan rebels and those actions in conjunction with America's participation in over twenty-thousand NATO air sorties saved the population of Benghazi! At the present time, Kabul is facing the same humanitarian crisis, its population numbers over four million and has one hundred and twenty thousand refugees that have fled from Taliban conquered territory. These occupants include many who would be considered high valued targets by the Taliban, for their either helping the U.S./NATO effort or working in the Afghanistan government sponsored by the allies; it deserves focusing on that many of these people are at serious risk of execution!. The population of Kabul includes many people that have embraced the civilized world's recognition of human rights especially for women; the Taliban's medieval culture with its backward views on these matters poses grave risks for these people! Also many Hazara Afghanis, Afghanistan's third largest ethnic group are amongst the Kabul refugees and these people have a history of being persecuted by the Taliban because they are Shia Muslims and the Taliban are Sunni Muslims. Many other Kabul refugees are people who fled Taliban controlled areas because their family members were already killed by the Taliban and so they are at risk of the same fate!
In the Afghanistan territory that the Taliban has taken control of in recent weeks the world has seen the atrocities the world feared. In some instances, the Taliban have been responsible for mass executions, they have banned Afghanistan women from leaving their home unless accompanied by a man from that home, they have required local leaders to provide lists of single women and widows in their community and then married these women off to their fighters. Today on CNN's Fareed Zakaria program a prominent women's rights activist in Afghanistan told of how a delegation of Afghanistan women from Herat within the last couple of days went to the Taliban leader in Herat and asked if Afghanistan women in the area could still work and he said "no" outside of a few women doctors that will be permitted women's place is at home taking care of children. The writing is on the wall that there will be a shocking human catastrophe in Afghanistan at the hands of the Taliban unless the world intervenes to create save havens in Afghanistan for vulnerable Afghanis and the bottom line is that there is no country in the world outside of the United States that has the military power to effectuate a rescue of these Afghanis. America's values, history and reputation warrant militarily stopping the ensuing Taliban campaign of "crimes against humanity".
It is an erroneous analysis all this public talk implying or insinuating that the Afghanistan people are a defective people for their three hundred thousand personnel strong Army just disintegrated in the face of the Taliban, people say what is wrong with these people from Afghanistan that won't fight for themselves trying to make the point of why even bother trying to help these Afghanistan people they aren't even worth it. This is totally unfair, the Afghanistan Army has been fighting the Taliban for years because for years U.S. and Nato forces have not been taking on the combat role in the war with the Taliban; they have fought well and bravely, sustaining significant casualties but not giving up the fight. General McMaster, former National Security Adviser in the Donald J. Trump Whitehouse, I think identified the problem succinctly when he said the Afghanistan Army was designed to have a plug in from the U.S., the U.S. provided battlefield intelligence, the U.S. helped with battlefield strategy, the U.S. provided robust air power, the U.S. always had their back when the U.S. decided to quickly militarily exit Afghanistan it was a shock to the Afghanistan Army they did not know how to function with this absence of military support - they needed time to transition to the new design. In the recent Taliban advances, the Afghanistan Army and their allies showed some significant fight; in the defense of the major northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif they fought the problem was that the Taliban attacked them on several fronts which was too much for the defense forces, imagine if those defense forces had access to a squadron of U.S. A-10s, with their cannon that can fire 3900 armor piercing shells per minute besides having laser guided bombs, to fight the attacking Taliban the battle would have been a Taliban defeat. Any fair analysis would conclude that America's quick exist greatly undermined and hurt the Afghanistan Government's capacity to provide security in the country; if they were given a fair amount of time the Afghanistan's military leadership would have had time to rotate military units defending various cities into combat against the Taliban and see how the leaders and rank and file soldiers fight and permanently fire those that either don't fight or don't fight competently; the Afghanistan military could then have stopped spreading itself thin and concentrated its forces so that it would have had a better chance of succeeding on the battlefield. A fair amount of time would have enabled the Afghanistan government to make arrangement to militarily strengthen their hand against the Taliban by giving their allied militia leaders or warlords the financial resources to build up their fighting forces - these allied forces had a history of successfully fighting the Taliban this would have been a meaningful factor in the war against the Taliban. The other thing that all this critical analysis of the Afghanistan people and their will to fight for their country needs to consider is that surrendering is "contagious" when rank and file soldiers and unit commanders hear of multiple other units surrendering to the enemy and military leaders offering no real promise for success and being constantly replaced the spirit of this is "a lost cause" permeates these forces and then the public sees more and more surrendering. Which calls for the recognition that if the U.S. goes back in militarily and creates these safe zones and a small territory for the Afghanistan government to begin to rebuild there is this pool of good soldiers that could make up a new Afghanistan government army!
If the United States decides to go in and rescue the Afghanistan government and rescue the Afghanistan civilian population there should be four non-negotiable conditions that the United States government places on the Afghanistan government in order to get America's cooperation here. The preface behind these conditions are the following: The Taliban is an evil movement, the most evil movement , it needs with the highest priority to be permanently eradicated from this world, the U.S. will be upping the level of fight against the Taliban there will be no repeat of the last twenty years in Afghanistan. These are the four non-negotiable conditions. First, the Afghanistan government must pass a permanent law mandating execution of Taliban leaders, meaning in part Taliban leaders taken prisoners will be executed after a military hearing finding they are in fact such a leader, the Taliban assassinated the Communications minister and tried to assassinate the Defense minister and executed multiple groups of Afghanistan soldiers so this is a fair rule. Further, Afghanistan doesn't have a functioning parliament to pass a law so there needs to be a government commitment that this rule will be mandated by the President on the military, in addition America and it's allies reserves the right to carry out this rule ( for the U.S. the issue is whether such an act comports with U.S. law). One probable ancillary benefit of this is this will probably fuel the Taliban assassination of Afghanistan leaders which will deter selfish Afghanistan citizens like many that recently surrendered from pursuing these jobs which will catapult more patriotic Afghanis into these jobs.
The second condition is that the Afghanistan government must permanently change its constitution and also its laws but most importantly its constitution to make all precepts, principle and ideals of the Islamic religion subordinate to human rights in Afghanistan (this needs to be placed first and clearly in the document). This issue has been a major problem for Afghanistan because currently the constitution says just the opposite that everything is subordinate to the religion of Islam. How can a people expect to win a war against an enemy when your constitution upholds and enshrines the culture of your enemy, it is not persuasive that people say this Taliban culture is a distortion of the Islamic faith, many many Muslims believe that the Islamic faith calls for the establishment of a medieval like, rights depriving, anti-reason culture. Good people acting fully responsible need to be saying enough is enough, this using of the Islamic religion to violate people's rights needs to permanently stop immediately, at minimum what must happen is countries constitutions where this is a serious issue need to explicitly say this in their constitution; the world needs to stop giving this culture soil to grow. Obviously, Afghanistan's government cannot in the foreseeable future change its constitution for the Taliban controls the country but the Afghanistan President needs to permanently agree to and promulgate that change and permanently agree that U.S. and its ally forces while in Afghanistan can enforce such policy and all warranted policies that stem from that. Meaning in part that if it comports with U.S. law a U.S. commander that is responsible for a sector at his discretion in part if he or she believes it will help the Afghanistan community can prosecute these Islamic culture crimes against women but even if there is a compelling reason against men and have a military tribunal prosecute the matter.
The third condition is that the Afghanistan government must agree that the U.S. and its allied countries and even their allies within Afghanistan will not pay one penny of bribe for security protection for construction projects, existing facilitates, organizations and the like, that people that engage in such activity and the broader activity of actually threatening or harming any subject matter are acting as enemy combatants and will be dealt with outside of the justice system. It doesn't matter whether it is direct or indirect payment if it is being solicited for the purpose of protection these rules apply. Everyone that is culpable in this wrong is eligible for this tag, to be crystal clear this means that the person that directly or indirectly asks for security money just provided justification for being killed as an enemy combatant. There is not going to be any type of repeat of the last twenty years where America was paying protection money and its was finding its way into Taliban's hands and funding their military effort resulting in U.S. soldiers being killed or maimed.
The fourth condition is that the Afghanistan government must agree that it is acceptable policy to kill enemy combatants in their homes and in their cars even when their children, wife, other family members and friends are killed in the process. So to be clear what the new rules entail for example is that when America through its surveillance observes an Afghani planting a mine in the road and tracks him to his or her associates and it is determined by U.S. authorities that they have identified his associates and by that time the bomber has returned home and is in his home with his wife and children it is permissible to kill the bomber by bombing his house and in the process killing his family and for his associates when their full network has been determined to be identified if at that time he or she is at home with the person's wife and children it is permissible to bomb the house killing the associate with his or her family .
These four conditions need to be agreed to in writing and signed by Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, although it could be questioned whether at this juncture they have the authority to make such a commitment on behalf of the Afghanistan people, if one evaluates recent Afghanistan elections these two people most have this legitimacy by the Democratic process, so they should be recognized as having such authority. An optimally prudent analysis of this situation would conclude that when the Taliban are finished working their will in Afghanistan, the world is going to have another Rwanda or Srebrenica tragedy for which good people are extremely ashamed over, the United States with its military has the power to stop this if good commitments that optimal wisdom calls for can be obtained from Afghanistan leaders it should act to stop this growing atrocity!
Afghanistan a few decades back was liberal and developing. Now it's an ongoing disaster. I'm looking for good guys in this... I can't stand the Taliban... or the Soviets... or all the Arab jihadis sticking their noses into the country (e.g., bin Laden)... and the USA could have done good, and tried in some respects, but again had a fatally flawed mission, or lack of well-defined mission.
Again and again this happens. You'd think we'd learn.