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World Top US general: hard to predict Afghan fate after pullout

20:01  28 april  2021
20:01  28 april  2021 Source:   afp.com

Turkey postpones Afghanistan peace summit over Taliban no-show

  Turkey postpones Afghanistan peace summit over Taliban no-show Taliban had earlier refused to attend any Afghan peace summit until all foreign forces were pulled out of Afghanistan. “The conference would be meaningless without the Taliban joining. At the moment, we decided to postpone it since there is no clarity about the formation of the delegations and participation,” Cavusoglu said. “The aim is not to initiate alternative talks to Doha but to contribute to the process. Hosting the meeting together in Istanbul will be Turkey, Qatar and the UN.

The top US general said Wednesday that it was not possible to predict Afghanistan's fate after the US troop withdrawal, warning of the "worst-case" outcome of a collapse of the government to the Taliban.

Mark A. Milley wearing a suit and tie: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley discussed Afghanistan's prospects after the US pull-out © Mandel NGAN Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley discussed Afghanistan's prospects after the US pull-out

"Tough situation, no good answers to any of it," Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley told the Sedona Forum when asked about the future of Afghanistan.

He said that the Pentagon would withdraw its last 2,500-plus forces by September under the decision announced two weeks ago by President Joe Biden, to end the two-decade US military involvement there.

The U.S. Is Leaving Afghanistan. We Must Not Abandon It | Opinion

  The U.S. Is Leaving Afghanistan. We Must Not Abandon It | Opinion After two decades at war, the United States has decided that it cannot continue an indefinite military presence in Afghanistan. But that doesn't mean that Washington—and the rest of the world—should turn their backs on a country that has been through decades of conflict. Millions of people in Afghanistan are depending on us to help preserve the progress of the past two decades, and it may very well be in our own interest to use the economic and diplomatic tools we have to prevent the country from spiraling into a situation where its violence may not stay within its own borders for long.

"What comes after that, I think there's a... range of outcomes, some of which are quite bad, some which are not quite bad," Milley said.

"On the worst-case analysis, you have a potential collapse of the government, a potential collapse of the military. You have a civil war and all the humanitarian catastrophe that goes with it," he said.

That could include the revival of Al-Qaeda, the jihadist group behind the 9/11 attacks that was the target of the original US-led invasion of the country in 2001.

"On the other hand, you do have an army, that's a 350,000-strong army and police forces and the Afghan security forces; you do have a government today," Milley said.

"They have been engaged in counterinsurgency operations for quite some time against the Taliban. So it's not a foregone conclusion that there'll be an automatic fall of Kabul, so to speak."

Milley said the best outcome would be a negotiated deal between the Kabul government and the Taliban rebels, but he declined to guess which of the possible paths the country would take after US troops leave.

He said that even after the US troop departure, they will still be able to monitor and pursue Al-Qaeda if the group seeks to expand its influence.

"We have a lot of capabilities...  in order to track and then target enemies of our country," Milley said.

"Afghanistan and Pakistan are not the only places that have these terrorist threats. So we're capable of monitoring, we're capable of striking if the need arises."

pmh/bgs

US sends more reinforcements for Afghan pullout: Pentagon .
The US military has deployed more heavy bombers and fighter jets to protect withdrawing American and coalition troops from Afghanistan, which have so far sustained no direct attacks, the Pentagon said Thursday. "Less than one week in, the drawdown is going according to plan," Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters. Pentagon Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley said that to defend the departing troops, six B-52 long range bombers and 12 F-18 fighters have been ordered to supply contingency support.

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