Why is the Taliban gaining ground in Afghanistan? I asked the New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins, one of the keenest reporters who has covered that war. “Ordinary Afghans don’t like the Taliban. But they dislike the Afghan government even more. We say we don’t want to do nation-building, but you can’t build an army without first building a state. People don’t die for an army; they die for a country. And who wants to die for the current Afghan government?”
The American military on the ground knows the problem well, which is why it refers to the Afghan government as a collection of corrupt networks that extend across the country. In true military fashion, there is an acronym for it: VICE — vertically integrated criminal enterprise.