US General: 'Good Probability' of Afghan Civil War

Chairman of joint chiefs of staff Milley says that could help terror groups rise
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2021 8:45 AM CDT
Taliban Claims Control of Last Holdout Region
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, left, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, right, arrive for a briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021, about the end of the war in Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – When the Taliban took control of Afghanistan last month, they didn't take all of the country. One holdout region—the mountainous Panjshir Valley—continued to fight. On Monday, however, the Taliban finally claimed control of that province, too, reports the Washington Post. A Taliban spokesman said the region is "completely conquered," and an official with the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan confirmed. “Yes, Panjshir has fallen," he said. "Taliban took control of government offices." Meanwhile, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, tells Fox News that conditions are ripe in Afghanistan for a civil war. Milley was at a US base in Ramstein, Germany, on Saturday to thank troops for rapidly throwing together a tent city for evacuees and processing about 30,000 people, per Fox.

The general said he didn’t know if the Taliban could consolidate power and set up a government. “You could see a resurgence of terrorism coming out of that general region within 12, 24, 36 months," Milley said Western nations are concerned that the power vacuum in Afghanistan could make it a sanctuary for terrorist organizations planning attacks in other countries. "I think there's at least a very good probability of a broader civil war, and that will then in turn lead to conditions that could in fact, lead to reconstitution of al-Qaeda or a growth of ISIS or other myriad of terrorist groups,” Milley said, per the Hill. That said, Milley wasn’t advocating for a swift return to Afghanistan, instead emphasizing the need to monitor intelligence coming out of the country. (Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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