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Afghanistan stunned by scale and speed of security forces’ collapse

More than 1,000 have fled across the border, and hundreds more have handed over weapons to the Taliban

Last autumn, with the departure of American troops from Afghanistan looming after the US signed a withdrawal deal with the Taliban, several of the most senior security officials in Kabul urged President Ashraf Ghani to make some hard choices.

The Afghan army and police needed to retrench, figures including the then defence minister, Assadullah Khalid, told Ghani. Remote outposts, and rural areas where troops held little more than the cluster of government and security buildings that make up a “district centre”, should be abandoned.

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