The Taliban have “strategic momentum” in their heavy operations across Afghanistan, but their victory is uncertain, US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Millie said Wednesday.
Nearly 20 years after the US overthrew the Taliban government in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, and the withdrawal of US-led foreign forces, the militants who have so far carried out half of Afghanistan’s 400 districts Is controlled.
“But they don’t have any of the country’s most populous cities,” Milli told a news conference.
He added that after militants put pressure on half of the country’s provincial capitals, Afghan troops are “strengthening their forces” to protect these major urban centers.
“They are taking an approach to protecting the population, and most of the population lives in the provincial capitals and the capital, Kabul,” Milli said.
“The Taliban’s automatic military takeover is not a precedent.”
The Taliban are spreading across Afghanistan, tearing down territory, seizing border crossings and besieging cities.
Their success has tested the morale of the Afghan army, which has already suffered dramatically more casualties in recent years, and, more recently, the international military’s decision to leave.
Although the Afghan army has been trained and equipped by international forces, and estimates indicate that it has a large number of Taliban ranks, Milli said the number is not enough to win the war. Is.
“The two most important battles are actually will and leadership. And this will now be a test of the will and leadership of the Afghan people, the Afghan security forces and the Afghan government,” he said.
US President Joe Biden has also said that Taliban occupation is “not inevitable”.
But earlier this month he also warned that forces should unite against the insurgency, acknowledging that it was “highly unlikely” that a unified government would take control of the country.
The United States has insisted it will continue to support the Afghan army.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the United States on Friday handed over three Black Hawk helicopter gunships to the Afghan army and more supplies would follow.
He added that after the withdrawal, US units were stationed in Qatar to fight jihadists in Afghanistan.
“We are committed to helping the Afghan security forces and the Afghan government move forward,” he said.
The State Department also said that the first group of about 700 Afghans working for the US military – targeted by the Taliban – would arrive in the United States next week with their immediate families.
An additional 4,000 workers and their families, including a total of 20,000 people, have been approved for immigrant visas, State Department official Tracy Jacobson said.
Milli said the US evacuation was 95 percent complete, with the evacuation of cargo equivalent to 984 C-17 aircraft.
Following his remarks on Wednesday, the Taliban said on Wednesday that they would only fight in self-defense during the Eid al-Adha Muslim holiday, but failed to declare a formal ceasefire.
The militants have said they are working “hard” to reach a political settlement with the government in Kabul.
But their pressure to take advantage of the evacuation has left many Afghans skeptical.
President Ashraf Ghani said on Tuesday that the Taliban had proved that they had “no will or intention for peace”, and that more than a dozen diplomatic missions in Kabul this week called for an “immediate end” to the operation. ۔
Afghan citizens, who have been fighting for a long time, are pushing the Taliban forward out of fear.
If the militants return to any form of power, many – especially women and minorities – will be deprived of their basic rights and freedoms.
Even if Kabul can stop them, civilians will face a long and bloody civil war or the country will fall apart along ethnic lines.
The possibility of a negotiated political settlement “remains,” Milli said.
“There is a possibility of a complete Taliban takeover or any other scenario of any kind – disorder, militancy, and all sorts of other scenarios,” he said.
“We’re watching very closely. I don’t think the game is written yet.”
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