Very good probability of civil war in Afghanistan: US General
United States General Mark Milley has said that Afghanistan could see a civil war as the Taliban faces challenges from both outsides and within. Milley explained that mounting resistance in Panjshir and a delay in government formation due to the Taliban-Haqqani power tussle indicates that the Taliban's rise to power will not be as smooth as previously imagined. Here are more details.
Speaking to Fox News, Milley said, "My military estimate is that the conditions are likely to develop of a civil war. I don't know if the Taliban is going to be able to consolidate power and establish governance." If they cannot, that will "in turn lead to a reconstitution of Al Qaeda or a growth of ISIS" over the next three years, he added.
When asked whether the US would intervene again in Afghanistan if the country heads towards a civil war, General Milley maintained it would be a "very difficult policy choice" for the country. "I wouldn't say yes or no to anything...I think...it's too early to say anything," he said. He also conceded that the Afghan Army "collapsed" at a much faster rate than was expected.
Meanwhile, the Taliban is battling stiff resistance in Panjshir valley by the National Resistance Front—led by Panjshir leader Ahmad Massoud and ex-Vice President Amrullah Saleh. The resistance said 700 Taliban fighters were killed in Panjshir while hundreds of others have been captured. The Taliban, on the other hand, claims that it has gained the upper hand in Panjshir.
The reports of the Taliban's heavy casualties came amid the group's claims of victory in Panjshir. A Taliban source told Al Jazeera that fighting was continuing in Panjshir but the advance had been slowed by landmines placed on the road to the capital Bazarak. Separately, Panjshir leaders have been reaching out to the international bodies highlighting the humanitarian crisis created by the Taliban.
It has been three weeks since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan. The Taliban had reportedly held discussions with Afghan politicians to form an "inclusive government" in the country that is acceptable to all. The group's military victory came after it signed a peace deal with Washington last year, under which the US decided to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.