War is not over but conditions set for winning: US General
WASHINGTON (PAN): Asserting that the war against terrorism in Afghanistan is not yet over because of the resilience of the Taliban, a top American general on Wednesdayasserted that due to the significant increasing in the capabilities of the Afghan national forces conditions are set to win the war.
“The changes that have occurred in this country (Afghanistan) speak that or would suggest that the momentum of this war has shifted in the favor of the government of Afghanistan and not in the favor of the Taliban,” Army Lieutenant General Mark A Milley, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Joint Command, told Pentagon reporters in a video conference from Kabul.
“I think that the US and the international security forces from NATO have got a lot to be proud of in what's occurred in the last 12 years. Having said all of that, though, this war is not over. This war is still being contested. It is still being fought, day-in and day-out. And it is not yet won,” Milley said.
“Right now, I would say, that the conditions are set for winning this war and, but it is not yet won and it is not yet over,” the US commander said during the news conference briefing reporters on the current situation in Afghanistan, wherein he repeatedly asserted that the Afghan national security forces have made great stride in last few years and the Taliban are nowhere matching its capabilities and strength.
The Afghans have successfully defended the majority of the population of this country, he said, adding that they're executing a full spectrum counter-insurgency and their design, their purpose is to protect the majority of the population. “They have effectively done that in the first four-plus months of the fighting season, in which they have literally been in the lead,” he said.
Responding to questions, Milley refuted that the Taliban is buying time by laying low before they 2014 pull out. “I often hear people say time's on the side of the guerrilla, time's on the side of the Taliban. That's not true. In this particular case, in this country, with this explosion of information, time is on the side of the government of Afghanistan, the people that are supporting a progressive Afghanistan, and not on the side of the Taliban,” he said.
“The Taliban is out there trying to control information, trying to deny people information, trying to deny people knowledge. That's a huge change,” he added.
However, Milley concluded that the war is not yet over. “This war is not over. This is a very resilient enemy. It's an adaptive enemy. I don't think for a minute that the Taliban or their kind are going to kind of fade away into the dust here in the next year or two. That's not going to happen,” he said.
Noting that the Taliban's stated objective is to seize political power in Afghanistan, he said he does not think at this point in time, with the strength and capability of the Afghan security forces, that the Taliban or any of their allies have the capability to re-seize political power in the country of Afghanistan under current conditions. “I don't think that that is a likely probability anytime in the near future,” he argued.
“I don't see the Taliban's demise, but I do not think they any longer have the capability or any political support to achieve what is their strategic objective. If history is a guide, we know that if you're going to be a successful insurgency to achieve political power, you've got to achieve a certain degree of political traction in terms of popular support,” he said.
“So I don't think that condition exists anymore. The conditions still exist, however, for fighting to continue for a fairly long period of time. But I think the key word here is: Can the ANSF contain the insurgency; can they manage the violence so that the insurgents do not present an existential threat to the government? And I think the answer to that is yes. At least that's the indicators that I conclude from what I've seen so far,” Milley said.
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