Washington, 5 September 2021 (dpa/MIA) — The top US military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Mark Milley, said Afghanistan could be on the verge of sliding into civil war.
“My military estimate is … that the conditions are likely to develop of a civil war,” Milley said in an interview with Fox News on Saturday at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
“I don’t know if the Taliban is going to [be] able to consolidate power and establish governance.”
Such a development could in turn lead to terrorist groups taking advantage of the power vacuum in Afghanistan, Milley warned.
The fear, he said, is that al-Qaeda will regroup, Islamic State extremists will expand their influence, “or other myriad of terrorist groups” will spread.
“You could see a resurgence of terrorism coming out of that general region within 12, 24, 36 months. And we’re going to monitor that,” he said.
The withdrawal of the last US soldiers from Kabul airport last week marked the end of the military mission by Washington and its allies in Afghanistan after nearly 20 years.
As the main argument for withdrawing troops, the Biden administration said al-Qaeda had been effectively dismantled and was no longer capable of attacking targets in the United States from Afghanistan.
According to the United Nations, al-Qaeda was already present in almost every second Afghan province before the withdrawal of international troops.