The Taliban seem to have the “strategic momentum” of their sweeping offensives throughout Afghanistan, however their victory is way from assured, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of workers General Mark Milley stated Wednesday.

Nearly 20 years after the US toppled the Taliban regime within the wake of the 9/11 assaults, and with the withdrawal of US-led international forces all however full, the resurgent militants now management about half of Afghanistan’s roughly 400 districts.

But they’ve not one of the nation’s densely populated most important cities, Milley informed a press convention.

With the militants placing strain on round half of the nation’s provincial capitals, Afghan troops are “consolidating their forces” to guard these main city facilities, he added.

“They’re taking an approach to protect the population, and most of the population lives in the provincial capitals and capital city of Kabul,” Milley stated.

“A Taliban automatic military takeover is not a foregone conclusion.”

The Taliban are surging throughout Afghanistan, snapping up territory, seizing border crossings and encircling cities.

Their success has examined the morale of the Afghan military, already battered by years of shockingly excessive casualties and, extra just lately, the choice by US-led worldwide troops to go away.

Though the Afghan military has been educated by worldwide forces, and estimates present it vastly outnumbers the Taliban’s ranks, Milley stated numbers usually are not all it takes to win a struggle.

“The two most important combat multipliers actually are will and leadership. And 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,” he stated.

US President Joe Biden has additionally stated {that a} Taliban takeover is “not inevitable.”

But earlier this month he additionally warned that Afghans should come collectively in opposition to the insurgents, and admitted that it was “highly unlikely” that one unified authorities would find yourself controlling your complete nation.

– End sport ‘not but written’ –

Milley’s feedback got here hours after the Taliban stated Wednesday they might battle solely to defend themselves over the Muslim vacation of Eid al-Adha, however stopped wanting declaring a proper ceasefire.

In current years, the militants have declared a pause in combating with authorities forces over Islamic holidays, providing a short respite to Afghans who can go to household in relative security.

Taliban chief Hibatullah Akhundzada stated over the weekend that he “strenuously favors” a political settlement to finish the struggle with the federal government in Kabul.

But the hardline Islamist motion’s push to capitalize on the final phases of the worldwide withdrawal has left many Afghans sceptical.

President Ashraf Ghani stated Tuesday that the Taliban had proved “they have no will and intention for peace,” with negotiations between the 2 warring sides attaining little.

More than a dozen diplomatic missions in Kabul this week referred to as for “an urgent end” to the Taliban’s present offensive, saying it was at odds with claims they wish to safe a political deal to finish the battle.

Afghan civilians, who’ve lengthy taken the brunt of the combating since 2001, are additionally watching the Taliban advance in worry.

Many — particularly girls and minorities — stand to lose hard-won rights and freedoms if the militants return to any type of energy.

Even if Kabul can maintain them off, among the many eventualities that civilians face is the prospect of a protracted and bloody civil struggle and the potential of the nation fracturing alongside ethnic strains.

It was the chaos of the civil struggle within the 1990s that helped usher the Taliban to energy.

Milley stated the possibility of a negotiated political settlement is “still out there.”

“There’s a possibility of a complete Taliban takeover or possibility of any number of other scenarios — breakdowns, warlordism, all kinds of other scenarios out there,” he stated.

“We’re monitoring very closely. I don’t think the end game is yet written.”

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