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Collapse in Afghanistan / Elyas Nawandish

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Ten days [before] the collapse of the government, the president [of] Afghanistan asked the Parliament members in an emergency meeting and he said that "I will stand against [the] Taliban I will defeat them [as long as] I am alive. I will not give up." But suddenly, on August 15th, we saw that he is not in the country. So it was a question for me [of] what went wrong. And what went went wrong in the country. So then I started interviewing the former military officials. So I found Akbari, he was the chief of National Command Center in the Ministry of Defense, who was the office which was leading the Army in the country and part of his duty was collecting information from across the country [about] what is going on and then briefing to the President and the Ministry of defense and the chief of the Army and also he was the person who was connecting the Afghan military to the NATO troops and the American troops. So what he told me was that, he said that during when the collapse started, it was not suddenly, and so first the districts started collapse and then the provinces, he told me that during the collapse, the President with his national security advisor and some other close friends they visited continuously the Ministry of Defense and they were asking and watching what was going on in the country. What he told me was interesting, he said that the President at the meeting was asking people like Akbari to leave the room and he was [in] the room with his advisors and ... he said that we didn't know what he was telling to the Army and what they [were] planning and there was no clear plan for us.

Elyas Nawandish is on to talk about his article at The Intercept, “I Watched the Afghan Government Collapse Under the Weight of Its Own Greed: Our leaders failed to give Afghan soldiers the food, tools, and respect they needed to defeat a brutal insurgency.”

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Elyas Nawandish

Elyas Nawandish is an Afghanistan Observatory Scholar at New America. Since 2014, he has worked with the Kabul-based Etilaat Roz daily newspaper, where he is currently the online chief editor, supervising a team of 20 journalists. Previously, he served as news manager, investigative reporter, and text editor for Etilaat Roz. He has produced around 160 reports and editorials, including 12 major investigations on politics, security, human rights, rule of law, corruption, and abuse of state resources by former Afghan government officials. Nawandish holds a bachelor’s degree in Dari language and literature from Kabul University. He also completed a journalism course in 2014 with the USAID-funded group Nai Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan.


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