Although some are shocked by the disintegration of Afghan army in front of the Taliban, I for one wasn't too surprised given the 2014 precedent provided by the US-trained Iraqi army, which disintegrated in front of ISIS, in somewhat similar circumstances, i.e. the US had completely pulled off all its ground troops (and air bases) from Iraq at the time.

Much has been written in US military circles in terms of analyses and "lessons learned" from that 2014 debacle.

I'm curious however if any of that has translated into changes in how the US trained (or picked) its allies in countries like Iraq and (particularly) Afghanistan. Or were any desirable changes simply deemed infeasible due to them depending too much on the local government's cooperation etc.?

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    I know this will be a bit inflammatory (and emotions seem to be running high at the moment), but I really don't think 'training' would ever make one bit of difference unless that training can somehow train the culture of corruption out of the ENTIRE system. I've recently seen some news reports featuring the best trained troops that we left behind. They were excellent. That core group was of truly unquestionable quality, and many of them even had actual combat experience on top of that. Training isn't the problem. The corruption is where the real battle is, and that's probably what we missed.
    – ouflak
    Commented Aug 16, 2021 at 10:56
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    If we had put the same grandiose effort into changing the culture of corruption, we might have had a chance to really cement something in place that would be far more resilient. The Taliban are going to face the same issues as well. Heck that may be part of the reason they were driven out so quickly themselves. Perhaps they can issue a fatwa or something and make it a beheadable offense. If I were them, I'd gather together the cream-of-the-crop of the trained army they are now inheriting, and make that the standard military for the country. Then focus their best efforts on internal problems.
    – ouflak
    Commented Aug 16, 2021 at 11:01
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    is there any common reason for the two situation ? Commented Aug 16, 2021 at 12:05
  • Just want to add that any supposed "inherent cultural reasons" based on cowardice fly against the evidence. During the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq wars, the Iraqi army performed, if not brilliantly, certainly without cowardice. And the Afghanis themselves did after all kick out the Soviets. And not far from the same thing happened in 1975's South Vietnam. Westerners need to stop assuming they can quickly generate locally credible governments in foreign cultures. In a way, both Taiwan+S. Korea are counter-examples: first, decades of dictatorships, then democracy (no, not saying thats a good thing) Commented Aug 17, 2021 at 21:39


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