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An Afghan Air Force's helicopter hovers near the Afghan Parliament house in Kabul on Aug. 2, 2021.
An Afghan Air Force's helicopter hovers near the Afghan Parliament house in Kabul on Aug. 2, 2021. (Wakil Kohsar, AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

WASHINGTON (Tribune News Service) — Afghanistan is likely to slide into a prolonged civil war with U.S. ground forces set to leave by the end of the month, a former U.S. envoy to Kabul said.

Ryan Crocker, who served as ambassador to Afghanistan during the Obama administration, said he didn’t foresee any chance that U.S. troops would return once they exit.

“President Biden has made that clear — we’re going out and staying out,” Crocker said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. Biden’s decisions mean he “is now taking complete ownership” of former President Donald Trump’s policies for Afghanistan, Crocker said.

Taliban fighters took control of much of the capital of Kunduz province on Sunday, including the governor’s office and police headquarters, The Associated Press quoted a provincial council member as saying.

The Taliban has been gaining territory and taking over customs posts at Afghan border crossings, seizing much of the government’s revenue. It now controls half of the country’s 419 districts, and the militants are putting pressure on the provincial capitals, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last month.

On Saturday, U.S. Central Command said that American military aircraft have been hitting ground targets in Afghanistan in an effort to protect allies amid the advances.

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