By Eric Schmitt
July 22, 2021 — 3.16pm
Washington DC: The US military’s apical serviceman has offered a glum appraisal of the information concern successful Afghanistan, saying the Taliban had seized “strategic momentum” implicit Afghan subject forces who were falling backmost to support important cities, including the superior Kabul.
The comments by General Mark Milley, president of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, echoed mounting reports from the crushed successful Afghanistan. But his sober, astir clinical, relationship of caller Taliban gains hammered location the point.
“There’s a anticipation of a implicit Taliban takeover oregon the anticipation of immoderate fig of different scenarios,” Milley said. “I don’t deliberation the extremity crippled is yet written.”
The Taliban person taken power of much than 210 of Afghanistan’s astir 420 districts successful caller months, Milley told reporters astatine a Pentagon quality conference. They are besides pressuring fractional of the country’s 34 provincial centers and are aiming to isolate Kabul and different large cities, helium said.
“Strategic momentum appears to beryllium benignant of with the Taliban,” helium said. “There intelligibly is simply a communicative retired determination that the Taliban are winning. In fact, they are propagating an inevitable triumph connected their behalf.”
But Milley, who appeared alongside Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin successful their archetypal associated quality league since May 6, sought to reassure the Afghan authorities that the United States would proceed to supply humanitarian and information assistance from afar. All US forces person near the country, but for astir 650 troops assigned to defender the US Embassy and the Kabul airport.
Both Milley and Austin enactment work for the country’s destiny connected Afghans and their leaders, not the Biden administration. Austin said that US aerial strikes aft August 31, the subject withdrawal deadline, would beryllium reserved for al-Qaida and different violent targets, not Taliban fighters attacking Afghan forces.
“This is going to beryllium a trial present of the volition and enactment of the Afghan people, the Afghan information forces and the authorities of Afghanistan,” Milley said.
In effect to the Taliban offensives, hundreds of Afghan troops person surrendered, giving up their instrumentality and fleeing, sometimes into neighbouring countries. Afghan authorities counter-attacks person had constricted success.
Milley said that galore different Afghan troops were falling backmost to support larger provincial cities. Violence has waned successful the past fewer days with the opening of the Muslim solemnisation of Eid al-Adha, helium said, but the state could scope a turning constituent arsenic warring resumes.
An further 4,000 Afghans who worked with US forces, galore of them interpreters, were cleared to relocate to the United States with their families, State Department officials said connected Wednesday (Thursday AEST)
But officials added that evacuations were lone taking spot retired of Kabul - immoderate eligible Afghans successful distant areas were connected their ain successful figuring retired however to marque the difficult, and apt dangerous, travel if they wanted to instrumentality vantage of the offer.
“In bid to travel connected an evacuation flight, they would person to get themselves to Kabul,” a elder official, who requested anonymity successful bid to sermon the program successful detail, said connected a telephone with reporters. “Obviously, we don’t person extended US subject presence. We don’t person the quality to supply proscription for them.”
“If they’re staying successful the northbound of the state and they don’t consciousness harmless staying successful Afghanistan, they could spell to a neighbouring country” and decorativeness their exertion process there, the authoritative added.
The United States besides volition not supply information to applicants extracurricular Kabul, galore of whom are nether nonstop menace from the Taliban for cooperating with conjugation forces during the war.
The White House has travel nether unit to support Afghan allies and velocity up the process of providing them with peculiar migrant visas - and President Joe Biden has vowed to bash so. There person been astir 20,000 applicants for the peculiar visa program.
The New York Times
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