I’d like throw out another possible explanation for what’s often described as a failure of the Afghan army: the Powers that Be in that country have flipped often enough that the Afghan people - military and other - have learned not to ally themselves too closely with anyone.

Maybe the Afghans’ unenthusiastic fighting was due to the fact that, when leadership changes so frequently, the biggest goal is to position yourselves as safely as possible somewhere between the next set of losers and winners. What is the best bet; who will be in charge when the Americans leave? Because whoever comes in will find out where you stood. And those in the military will need to be very, very fast on their feet when power changes.

This is, clearly, a theory, verging closely on the “wild hair” source of thought. Still, I think it holds some merit. Afghans don’t have time or the safety for the kind of goals we expected. I have a feeling their goals are different: not democracy, as we would prefer, but simply not Taliban.

“It’s the shipwreck that leads you to the magical island.”
(Trevor Noah)