Pentagon Briefing Austin Milley
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley speaks at a press briefing at the Pentagon, Wednesday, July 21, 2021 in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
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U.S. general says Taliban appear to have 'strategic momentum'

13 Comments
By ROBERT BURNS

The Taliban appear to have “strategic momentum” in the fight for control of Afghanistan as they put increasing pressure on key cities, setting the stage for a decisive period in coming weeks as American forces complete their withdrawal, the top U.S. military officer said Wednesday.

“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, told a Pentagon press conference.

The Pentagon says the U.S. withdrawal is 95% finished and will be completed by Aug. 31. And while the Biden administration has vowed to continue financial assistance and logistical support for Afghan forces after August, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the focus of U.S. military efforts there will be countering terrorist threats, not the Taliban.

Speaking alongside Milley, Austin said the U.S. will “keep an eye on” al-Qaida, the extremist network whose use of Afghanistan as a haven for planning the 9/11 attacks on the United States was the reason U.S. 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 said, adding that the Taliban pledged in 2020 to not provide a sanctuary for al-Qaida in the future.

“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 is a “medium risk” of al-Qaida regaining within about two years of the U.S. departure the capability to launch attacks against 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 said the Taliban now control about half of the 419 district centers in Afghanistan, and while they have yet to capture any of the country's 34 provincial capitals, they are pressuring about half of them. As the Taliban seize more territory, the Afghan security forces are consolidating their positions to protect key population centers, including Kabul, he said.

“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 said.

Milley said that while the Taliban are attempting to create the impression that their victory over the U.S.-backed Kabul government is inevitable, he believes the Afghan military and police have the training and equipment to prevail. He said he would not 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 said.

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The Taliban appear to have “strategic momentum” in the fight for control of Afghanistan as they put increasing pressure on key cities, setting the stage for a decisive period in coming weeks as American forces complete their withdrawal, the top U.S. military officer said Wednesday.

Of course they do. Biden gave them a detailed timetable so they could plan accordingly.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

The media spent the last 20 years telling us that the Taliban were just a band of terrorists.

It was all a mass media lie.

The Taliban are the people of Afghanistan.

They have won again.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Oh yeah I have supreme confidence in this turning out well now. Ludicrous statement.

Speaking alongside Milley, Austin said the U.S. will “keep an eye on” al-Qaida

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Here we go again. This is just crazy!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

"On January 12, 2021, Milley and the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a statement condemning the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of Trump and reminding all service members of their obligation to support and defend the Constitution and reject extremism."

Gen. Milley was very concerned in the final days of Trump that he wanted a coup by the military.

"Milley sought to stay close with Trump through the final months of his presidency out of concern that he might invoke the Insurrection Act and deploy active-duty troops on America’s streets, according to the book by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender."

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"On January 12, 2021, Milley and the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a statement condemning the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of Trump

Different thread. Milley is a tool, but this thread was about the Taliban, not Trump

Gen. Milley was very concerned in the final days of Trump that he wanted a coup by the military.

Uh-huh, from the man that believes in pushing CRT in the military and thinking that the US military is some sort of identity politics experiment. The guy has zero credibility.

https://marypatriotnews.com/general-mark-milleys-extreme-rhetoric-spells-disaster-breakdown-huckabee-video/

https://tbecketadams.substack.com/p/gen-milley-deserves-no-applause-for

I’m happy we got of there, but now with things heating up and fast, we might be back there and how and what is this guys plan? A diverse military can handle the Taliban better?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Yeah. Here comes Trump again to deflect. Any comments about the Taliban already controlling 85% and who would be responsible for the decision allowing that to happen?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

A diverse military can handle the Taliban better?

It really sounds like you're implying the military should be whites-only.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Milky is a soldier following a lawful order that he likely disagrees with.

For my part, I regret that we are leaving the Afghans to their fate while fully recognizing that it's not my life on the line safe as I am here in Tokyo.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Afghanistan.....who is responsible for this nightmare?

George W. Bush. Any other questions?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The Taliban has won! 20 years too short for fighting an enemy that took war might fought in several generations! The present Taliban guys fighting in Afghanistan were born from Taliban family! Their grandfather were mujahideen fought the soviets,their father were Taliban and their children. grandchildren were future Talibans! How can you win this kind of war?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Afghanistan.....who told us that the Taliban wouldnt take over the country once he gave the order for our troops to leave? WHo was immediately proven wrong by Milley's statement of "strategic momentum" for the Taliban.

Should we have left or stayed? shouldnt Biden have done the opposite of what orange guy proposed? what is the responsibility of the USA to protect those who helped us these last 20 years?

Focus....its not that hard.

Well its harder than just screaming out something about "Trump", I guess.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Afghanistan.....who is responsible for this nightmare?

Obama, remember he campaigned on ending the Iraq war that’s what he basically won on and he said that the Iraq war was a mistake and the real terror is nestled in Afghanistan, so the majority of the troops were relocated there.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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