Retired Marine, U of M political science expert talk about conditions in Afghanistan

US Central Command says it bombed the “ISIS-Khorasan plot” – not directly related to Thursday’s attack.

Meanwhile, just four days after the deadline for troop withdrawal, several hundred Americans and many Afghans are struggling to get out of the country.

The Pentagon says more than 5,400 people are inside the airport waiting for flights.

“I don’t think we can really absorb the chaos on the ground for these people as they clear out the many Taliban checkpoints to get to the airport, searches to get to the airport, and boarding lines,” Hansen said.

A retired US Army infantryman and assistant patrol commander says he is deeply concerned about an Afghan friend who worked as a base guard for a private contractor between 2010 and 2014, among the thousands who tried to leave.

Hansen announced: “He was beaten by the Taliban last month because of his service in the US military.” “He knows he’s on a list, and if he doesn’t get out of the country, the Taliban will go after him and find him.”

A five-year-old Marine veteran says the pace of the Taliban’s progress is appalling.

“We were all surprised to see a breakdown that many expected to take months, if not years, to happen in a matter of days,” Hansen noted.

But what was the surprise?

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS I spoke with Kathleen Collins, a professor of political science at the University of Minnesota who has taught Islam and politics in the Afghanistan region for years.

“We definitely had intelligence reports, and I think those on the ground have a pretty good idea of ​​what’s really going on,” she said. “The Taliban has been really advancing since 2016, steadily and slowly taking control of large parts of the country.”

Collins says there has been heavy fighting in many parts of Afghanistan for months, and Thursday’s suicide bombing is a sign that things may be getting worse.

“We are losing all of our intelligence and military bases of operations in Afghanistan,” Collins said. “Therefore, we do not have a long-term regional presence to deal with the terrorist threat, which, as we saw yesterday, is of course increasing in Afghanistan as a result of the US withdrawal,” he added.

Both Collins and Hansen believed that the civilian population would suffer under Taliban rule.

She is also concerned about women’s rights and their ability to go to school or work without fear.

But Collins’ biggest concern is the growing possibility of civil war.

“We may discover in the coming weeks or months that the various factions will, in fact, rearm and reorganize themselves militarily to challenge the Taliban regime,” she said. And in that case we will witness more bloodshed.”

Hansen fears rising levels of poverty, violence, and crime.

Then there is the lingering question of whether what he fought for in Afghanistan was worth it.

“I think within this veteran community after 9/11, that’s something we’ll be fighting with for the rest of our lives,” Hansen said. “You know, the pros and cons of these wars that have gone on for so long. It’s something we have to wrestle with.”

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