While the ‘goal’ fired the Taliban, the Afghan army was a rudderless lot

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This is where the ‘regimental’ spirit resides which guarantees a collective identity, which goes beyond an individual’s religion, region, caste or personal ethnicity to be subsumed under the most powerful and unique “regimental” identity – an identity worth keeping with its own life. Last year Colonel Santosh Babu (MVC) from Andhra Pradesh fought with his troops from Veer Bihari in the Galwan Valley. It was only in a “regimental” environment that a commander would lead from the front.

Sadly, the Afghan soldiers had no vital “objectives” as ordered in a “regimental” environment, no motivation to go beyond the “call of duty”. So, they simply withered, melted away, and surrendered to a motivated Taliban who was more “regimented” in its construction, albeit in a regressive fashion.

In Afghanistan, where tribal, regional and ethnic pride trumps any national identity, the lack of plausible “regimentation” may have contributed to the humiliating surrender, among other political and administrative factors, in addition to the US withdrawal.

The will, the honor and the steel of battle were completely lacking.

(Lieutenant-General Bhopinder Singh (retired) is a former Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Puducherry. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are those of the author. The Quintet neither approves nor is responsible for it.)


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