On August 6, the Taliban announced that hundreds of employees of the Kabul government, policemen and soldiers of the Afghan National Army (ANA) defecated and joined its ranks in the southern province of Helmand over the last 24 hours.
The first defection took place in the district of Grishk. 67 personnel of the ANA and the Afghan National Police (ANP) joined the Taliban’s ranks after handing over 27 assault rifles, two RPG-7 rounds, eight sniper rifles, six heavy machine guns and six handguns.
In the district of Nawa-I-Barakzayi, 247 personnel of the ANA and the ANP defected. The defectors handed over 53 assault rifles, five heavy machine guns, four RPG-7 rounds, four mortar rounds, a sniper rifle, four handguns, three light machine guns, a pickup truck and a motorcycle to the Taliban.
And in the district of Nad Ali, 53 employees of the Kabul government “surrendered” to the Taliban. The employees handed over 13 assault rifles and a sniper refile to the group, which promised not to harm them.
“The said employees promised that they will not return to the ranks of the enemy, thus they were given safety cards,” the Taliban said in a press release.
The Taliban may have exaggerated the numbers of defectors in Helmand. Nevertheless, there is no denying that more and more personnel are leaving Afghan government forces and state jobs out of fear of the Taliban’s rapid advance in the country.
Within weeks of US President Joe Biden’s announcement of the withdrawal of US troops last May, the Taliban have marched on to capture almost half of Afghanistan’s nearly 400 districts. Afghan government forces are showing fierce resistance in few areas, like the northwestern city of Herat. However, they are collapsing on most fronts.