According to General Mark Milley, the Taliban now control half of Afghanistan’s district centers.
According to US General Mark Milley, the Taliban currently hold nearly half of Afghanistan’s district centers, and the group is continuing to put pressure on provincial capitals in order to gain more territory.
Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated that roughly half of Afghanistan’s 419 district centers are under Taliban control. Although the Taliban has yet to take control of any of the 34 provincial capitals, they are exerting pressure on nearly half of them.
“The Taliban have captured a large amount of territory over the last six, eight, ten months, so momentum appears to be—strategic momentum appears to be—sort of with the Taliban,” Milley added.
The Taliban has continued to struggle for control of Afghanistan as US soldiers leave from the country. According to Milley, Afghan security personnel have been working to defend critical population centers, including Kabul.
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“This is going to be a test now of the Afghan people’s will and leadership—the Afghan security forces and the Afghan government,” Milley said during a Pentagon press briefing.
According to the Pentagon, the US pullout is 95 percent complete and will be ended by August 31. While the Biden administration has stated that it will continue to provide financial and logistical support to Afghan forces after August, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has stated that the focus of US military activities in Afghanistan will be on defeating terrorist threats rather than the Taliban.
Austin, speaking beside Milley, said the US will “keep an eye on” Al-Qaeda, the extremist network whose use of Afghanistan as a safe haven for plotting the 9/11 attacks on the US was the motivation for US forces invading the country in 2001.
“Our major focus going forward is to ensure that violence, terrorism, cannot be exported from Afghanistan to our homeland, and so we’ll maintain the capability to not only observe but also address that if it does emerge,” Austin said, noting that the Taliban pledged in 2020 to no longer provide a safe haven for Al-Qaeda.
“We expect them to follow through on their commitment. I believe they will have to examine this if they want to maintain legitimacy in the future. That’s one way to earn it, so we’ll do it that way. This is a condensed version of the information.