The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction has published a report entitled Why the Afghan Government Collapsed. The report, a PDF of 69 pages, was issued to Congress in November 2022.
SIGAR conducted over 80 interviews with more than 60 current and former U.S. officials, former Afghan government officials, and experts on Afghanistan’s history and social structures.
SIGAR identified six factors that contributed to the the collapse of the Afghan government:
- The Afghan government failed to recognize that the United States would actually leave
- The exclusion of the Afghan government from U.S.-Taliban talks weakened and undermined it
- The Afghan government insisted that the Taliban be effectively integrated into the Republic, making progress on peace negotiations difficult
- The Taliban were unwilling to compromise
- Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani governed through a highly selective, narrow circle of loyalists, destabilizing the government at a critical junture
- The Afghan government’s high level of centralization, endemic corruption, and struggle to attain legitimacy were long-term contributors to its eventual collapse
SIGAR identified four findings surrounding the question of whether the United States governance objectives were achieved:
- The U.S. failed to build stable, democratic, representative, gender-sensitive, and accountable Afghan governance institutions
- The U.S. failed to resolve the issue of corruption and to legitimize the Afghan government through democratic elections
- Some progress was made in the public and private sectors with increased human capital and institutional capacity through training and education
- Residual elements of the Afghan government still exist and are functioning, although their sustainability is uncertain
Why the Afghan Government Collapsed, by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, SIGAR-23-05IP, November 2022, PDF, 69 pages.