According to Biden, Afghanistan has "300,000 well-equipped [troops], as well-equipped as any army in the world, and an air force against something like 75,000 Taliban," and said at the time that a Taliban takeover was "not inevitable."
According to a new report, the Taliban may have a fighting force of 150,000 to 200,000 in Afghanistan. Dr. Antonio Giustozzi, an international dispute and security studies professor at King’s College London, wrote a 2018 report that stated the Taliban’s largest number of fighters, approximately 90,000, are recruited from local militias. Giustozzi determined the Taliban, including non-combatants, added 200,000.
Bill Roggio, the editor of the Long War Journal and senior associate at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote in 2018, "Based on press releases, the Defense and Interior Ministries claim that between 30 to 50 Taliban fighters are killed daily. If this is averaged out over the course of a year, the Taliban would incur 11,000 to 18,000 fighters killed each year.
"There are few fighting forces that could take such high levels of casualties and still remain a dominant player on the battlefield. Given these facts, the Taliban's strength is likely to number well over 100,000 fighters."
The Biden administration has also likely over-measured the size of the Afghan army, according to an Inspector General report released July 31. Though Biden cited 300,000, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley declared in June that the Afghan army and police totaled 325,000-350,000.
According to The Daily Caller, "…records show the Afghan army consisted of about 182,000 soldiers and the police forces numbered about 118,000." Roggio told the outlet that those numbers are likely inflated, citing the prevalence of "ghost soldiers" which "exist on paper for the purpose of salaries and provisions, but have either died, deserted or never existed in the first place."
The Taliban held an Afghan United Nations staff member as he tried to reach Kabul airport on Sunday. They searched his vehicle and found his U.N. identification. Then they beat him.
On Monday, three strange men visited the home of another U.N. staff member who was at work at the time. They asked his son where his father was, and blamed him for lying: "We know his location and what he does."
The events are among dozens held in an internal U.N. Security document seen by Reuters that describes veiled threats, the looting of U.N. offices, and physical abuse of staff since Aug. 10, quickly before the Taliban swept to power.