The Taliban control about half of Afghanistan’s district centers, the top US general said on Wednesday.
“Strategic momentum appears to be sort of with the Taliban,” General Mark Milley, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a press conference.
Milley said more than 212 or 213 out of the 419 district centers were under Taliban control. Last month, he had said the Taliban controlled 81 district centers in Afghanistan.
Milley said that none of the provincial capitals in Afghanistan have been seized by the Taliban, but they are putting pressure on the outskirts of about half of them and they are trying to isolate the major population centers. “They’re trying to do the same thing to Kabul,” Milley said.
He said that Afghan security forces have the capacity to fight and defend their country.
“The future of Afghanistan is squarely in the hands of the Afghan people, and there are a range of possible outcome in Afghanistan,” Milley said. “And I want to emphasis repeatedly, and I’ve said this before, a negative outcome, a Taliban automatic military takeover, is not a forgone conclusion.”
He, however, did not rule out the possibility of a complete Taliban takeover, breakdowns or warlordism.
“We’re monitoring very closely. I don’t think the end game is yet written,” Milley said.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that the drawdown in Afghanistan continues in a safe and orderly manner, and it is on track to be completed by the end of August.