Doubting that the Taliban would be able to establish sustainable government in Afghanistan after the power grab following the chaotic US and NATO withdrawal, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley believes the chances that the country will descend into of civil war are quite high.
During the interview with Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin, Milley explained that though Taliban now controls most of the country following its blitz takeover of Afghanistan, heavy gunfights continue in the strategic region of Panjshir Valley where the Taliban are facing the last pockets of resistance.
He warned that, according to his military estimates, there is not only a very good probability civil war but also to resurgence of Al-Qaeda, Islamic State and myriad of other terrorist groups within 12, 24, 36 months due to the current power vacuum and chaos in the country.
Asked if the US is safer following now that its troops completed the withdrawal from Afghanistan, he stressed it was too soon to tell, vowing to continue drone strike operations if and when opportunities present themselves.
Yet, Milley admitted that the US will have to reestablish some human intelligence networks in Afghanistan in order to keep America safe considering there are no US no troops on the ground and its intel gathering capabilities are crippled, making it harder for Biden’s administration to follow on its vows to continue over-the-horizon counterterrorism missions.
Asked if he could envision a situation in which US troops would have to return to Afghanistan, he noted that he wouldn’t say yes or no to anything but that it would be a very difficult policy choice for which continuing monitoring of the intelligence situation is needed.
The US acted on one such opportunity last week, when a US drone targeted a vehicle in Kabul marked as an imminent threat to the evacuation- killing in the process 10 civilians, including 7 children- following the suicide bombing by ISIS-K terrorist group, in which 13 US soldiers and at least 95 Afghans were killed.