Chaos, security questions remain after Taliban takeover of Afghanistan

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Ross Weidner WLS logo
Tuesday, August 17, 2021
Security questions remain after Taliban takeover of Afghanistan
EMBED <>More Videos

A University of Chicago political science professor says there is a reason for the incredibly quick collapse of Afghanistan's US-backed government.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As Taliban control of Afghanistan stretches from border to border, the U.S. military is continuing to extract hundreds of personnel from the capital.

Almost 7,000 miles away, University of Chicago terrorism expert Robert Pape said Monday there is a key to understanding how America and Afghanistan ended up in this position.

WATCH | Terrorism expert Robert Pape discusses Afghanistan with Chuck Goudie

"What everybody is watching is the end of a fantasy. We have believed, for years now, that investing a trillion American dollars in foreign aid, and 20 years of commitment of, in many years, 100,000 American ground forces, over 2000 dead, would lead to a liberal democracy in Afghanistan. That is now clear for all to see, is simply a fantasy," Pape told the I-Team.

Pape, a University of Chicago political science professor, said there is a reason for the incredibly quick collapse of Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government.

"The Pentagon greatly under overestimated the fighting willingness of the Afghan security forces... the fundamental fact is they simply don't have the will to die for that illegitimate and corrupt government," Pape said.

SEE ALSO | 7 killed as Kabul airport plunges into chaos while Taliban patrols Afghan capital

"The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated. So what's happened? Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country. The Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight," President Joe Biden said Monday.

Pape said the U.S. is in a better intelligence gathering position to keep an eye out for and eliminate potential terror camps and equipment in Afghanistan before they can become a threat.

"The risk today is low. Now, will that risk remain low over the next five years, the next 10 years, no one can say that for sure. Which is why what we need to do is maintain the capability with airpower, Special Forces... we do need to maintain that and we do need to be vigilant about that," Pape said.