On February 15, The New York Times published an article entitled, The Taliban Close In on Afghan Cities, Pushing the Country to the BrinkIn it, reporters Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Taimoor Shah outline the push that the Taliban have made across Afghanistan. They have taken control of several important sectors of the country, strategically staging themselves in preparation for the May 1 deadline for the U.S. troop withdrawal as outlined in the Afghan Peace Agreement signed last year. They call the Taliban’s offensive “brazen” and say that President Biden has been put into a “dangerous political bind” leaving the country in an “especially precarious state.”

In fact, the Taliban offensive is not brazen, but simply common sense. The Taliban now have the upper hand in a country we’ve struggled to control and revitalize for two decades. But this isn’t news. The Taliban resurgence began in 2014 and has only gotten stronger in the past six years.

The resurgence was actually predicted in June of 2013 when President Obama began his new strategy and the generals did nothing.

In 2013, the Afghans controlled over 80 percent of the rural areas, and casualties were at an all-time low. The bottom-up Counter-Insurgency (COIN) strategy was working. Assessments from experts at RAND and advisors in the Special Operations Joint Task Force, SOJTF-A, strongly recommended not changing the strategy. The Taliban were degraded, disrupted, and neutralized. They admitted they had no answer for the Village Stability Operations (VSO) and Afghan Local Police (ALP) strategy.

It took less than a year for the Taliban to turn the tide, al-Qaeda to re-emerge, and ISIS to join the fight.

Now, everything has reversed, our casualties have increased, and we have zero leverage at the negotiating table. Our policy makes no sense. Our strategy is broken, and the generals’ operational approach is ineffective. None of this is worth another body bag or hospital bed.

To make matters worse, there has been zero accountability.

In early February, a panel including General Dunford who, on the military side, is responsible for this mess, and Kelly Ayotte, who lacks the experience to sit on this panel in the first place, recommended to reverse President Trump’s withdrawal. Their report instead favors the continued funding of the military-industrial complex and provides top cover for Congress, senior civilians, and the military for poor policy and strategy.