‘Complete Taliban Takeover’ Possible Outcome for Afghanistan, Milley Says

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Politics|U.S. subject authoritative says a ‘complete Taliban takeover’ is imaginable successful Afghanistan.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/21/us/politics/afghanistan-taliban-milley-withdrawal.html

An Afghan information    serviceman  stands defender  extracurricular  a mosque successful  Kabul connected  Tuesday.
Credit...Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Eric Schmitt

  • July 21, 2021, 4:20 p.m. ET

The nation’s apical subject serviceman offered a glum appraisal connected Wednesday of the information concern successful Afghanistan, saying the Taliban had seized “strategic momentum” implicit Afghan subject forces who were falling backmost to prioritize the extortion of important cities, including Kabul, the capital.

The comments by Gen. Mark A. Milley, president of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, echoed mounting reports from the crushed successful Afghanistan. But his sober, astir clinical, relationship of caller Taliban gains hammered location the point.

“There’s a anticipation of a implicit Taliban takeover, oregon the anticipation of immoderate fig of different scenarios,” General Milley said. “I don’t deliberation the extremity crippled is yet written.”

The Taliban person taken power of much than 210 of Afghanistan’s astir 420 districts successful caller months, General Milley told reporters astatine a Pentagon quality conference. They are besides pressuring fractional of the country’s 34 provincial centers and are aiming to isolate Kabul and different large cities, helium said.

“Strategic momentum appears to beryllium benignant of with the Taliban,” helium said. “There intelligibly is simply a communicative retired determination that the Taliban are winning. In fact, they are propagating an inevitable triumph connected their behalf.”

But General Milley, who appeared alongside Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III successful their archetypal associated quality league since May 6, sought to reassure the Afghan authorities that the United States would proceed to supply humanitarian and information assistance from afar. All American forces person near the country, but for astir 650 troops assigned to defender the U.S. Embassy and the Kabul airport.

Both General Milley and Mr. Austin enactment work for the country’s destiny connected Afghans and their leaders, not the Biden administration. Mr. Austin said that American airstrikes aft Aug. 31, the subject withdrawal deadline, would beryllium reserved for Al Qaeda and different violent targets, not Taliban fighters attacking Afghan forces.

“This is going to beryllium a trial present of the volition and enactment of the Afghan people, the Afghan information forces and the authorities of Afghanistan,” General Milley said.

In effect to the Taliban offensives, hundreds of Afghan troops person surrendered, giving up their U.S.-supplied instrumentality and fleeing, sometimes into neighboring countries. Afghan authorities counterattacks person had constricted success.

General Milley said that galore different Afghan troops were falling backmost to support larger provincial cities. Violence has waned successful the past fewer days with the opening of the Muslim solemnisation of Eid al-Adha, helium said, but the state could scope a turning constituent arsenic warring resumes.

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