Washington, Jul 22 (AP): The Taliban seem to have “strategic momentum” within the struggle for management of Afghanistan as they put growing strain on key cities, setting the stage for a decisive interval within the coming weeks as American forces full their withdrawal, the highest US army officer stated.
“This is going to be a test now of the will and leadership of the Afghan people — the Afghan security forces and the government of Afghanistan,” Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, advised a Pentagon press convention on Wednesday.
The Pentagon says the US withdrawal is 95 per cent completed and shall be accomplished by August 31. And whereas the Biden administration has vowed to proceed monetary help and logistical help for Afghan forces after August, Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin stated the main focus of US army efforts there shall be countering terrorist threats, not the Taliban.
Speaking alongside Milley, Austin stated the US will “keep an eye on” Al-Qaeda, the extremist community whose use of Afghanistan as a haven for planning the 9/11 assaults on the United States was the rationale US forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001.
“Our major focus going forward is to make sure that violence, terrorism, cannot be exported from Afghanistan to our homeland, and so we’ll maintain the capability to be able to not only observe that but also address that if it does emerge,” Austin stated, including that the Taliban pledged in 2020 to not present a sanctuary for Al-Qaeda sooner or later.
“We expect for them to meet that commitment. If they want legitimacy going forward, I think that’s something they’ll have to consider. That’s one way to earn it, so we’ll see what happens.” He reiterated his view that there’s a “medium risk” of Al-Qaeda regaining inside about two years of the US departure the aptitude to launch assaults in opposition to the West.
“But, again, there are a number of things that could happen to speed that up a bit or slow it down,” he added.
Milley stated the Taliban now management about half of the 419 district centres in Afghanistan, and whereas they’ve but to seize any of the nation’s 34 provincial capitals, they’re pressuring about half of them. As the Taliban seize extra territory, the Afghan safety forces are consolidating their positions to guard key inhabitants centres, together with Kabul, he stated.
“A significant amount of territory has been seized over the course of six, eight, 10 months by the Taliban, so momentum appears to be — strategic momentum appears to be — sort of with the Taliban,” Milley stated.
Milley stated that whereas the Taliban try to create the impression that their victory over the US-backed Kabul authorities is inevitable, he believes the Afghan army and police have the coaching and gear to prevail. He stated he wouldn’t rule out a negotiated political settlement with the Taliban, nor would he exclude “a complete Taliban takeover”.
“I don’t think the end game is yet written,” he stated. (AP) DIV DIV
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