Taliban fighters have encircled 17 provincial capitals, consequence of Afghanistan peace talks unsure, Mark Milley says.
Taliban fighters have gained “strategic momentum” in Afghanistan and now management about half the countryside as they drive to chop off inhabitants centres from the Western-backed authorities in Kabul, the United States’s prime navy common 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,” Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley instructed reporters on the Pentagon on Wednesday.
The Taliban have gained management of about half of 419 districts in Afghanistan and are “putting pressure on the outskirts” of 17 of 34 provincial capitals however haven’t seized management of any of them but, the highest US common stated.
“What they’re trying to do is isolate the major population centres. They’re trying to do the same thing to Kabul,” Milley stated.
In response, Afghan authorities forces are “consolidating” their positions to guard inhabitants centres and the combating is predicted to escalate within the coming weeks following the Eid al-Adha vacation.
A delegation of Afghan authorities and Taliban representatives met in Doha throughout the weekend however did not reach a hoped-for ceasefire settlement. Battlefield beneficial properties by the armed group have emboldened the Taliban which is advancing “a narrative” that they’re successful, Milley stated.
“They’re dominating the airwaves on that sort of thing,” he added.
President Joe Biden introduced the US and NATO would withdraw forces no later than September 11, the 20th anniversary of the al-Qaeda assaults on the US that prompted the American invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. The US withdrawal has occurred quicker and is now anticipated to be accomplished by the top of August.
In trade for the exit of international forces, the Taliban agreed to carry peace talks with the Western-backed authorities in Kabul geared toward reaching a political settlement that may result in long-term stability for the war-torn nation. And the Taliban agreed to stop al-Qaeda or different armed teams from gaining a presence in Afghanistan.
“There’s a possibility of a negotiated outcome. That is still out there. There’s a possibility of a complete Taliban takeover. There’s a possibility of any number of other scents – breakdowns, warlordism,” Milley stated.
Last week, the US offered three new propellor-driven A-29 Super Tacano gentle assault aeroplanes to the Afghan Air Force and three newly refurbished UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters.
“We are doing a lot to support the Afghan military and the Afghan leadership,” Milley stated.
“They will continue to see a steady drumbeat of that kind of support going forward,” he stated.
In addition, the US plans to assist refurbish the Afghanistan Air Force’s fleet of Mi-17 Soviet-era helicopters, Pentagon officers have stated.
The US withdrawal from Afghanstan is nearly 95 p.c full as of now, Milley stated and is on monitor to be completed by the top of August.
The US has withdrawn 9,000 civilian and navy personnel from Afghanistan and turned over management of all US navy working bases exterior of Kabul to the Afghan Ministry of Defence, Milley stated.
A contingent of about 650 US troops will stay to guard the US diplomatic presence in Kabul and its worldwide airport. The US has requested Turkey to start taking on accountability for safety on the airport.
At the identical time, “we’ve stood up a node in Qatar that’s operational now” that can permit the US “to be able to conduct over-the-horizon strikes”, Milley stated.
“Make no mistake that we remain committed to helping the Afghan security forces and the Afghan government going forward,” he stated.