Afghanistan: Strategy, politics and the US withdrawal have all fuelled the Taliban's rapid advance

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Nick Reynolds, from the Royal United Services Institute, puts it this way: "The Biden administration's surprise announcement to pull out and the rapid withdrawal of US forces has unfortunately exacerbated the situation. While Afghan government weakness has been chronic and long-standing, the speed of the withdrawal left little opportunity for the government to adjust to their new situation, while the Taliban, having slowly been making gains across the country, seem to have found themselves in the ideal position to capitalise."