Politics

Video: Taliban Have ‘Strategic Momentum’ in Afghanistan, U.S. General Says

The Afghan security forces have the capacity to sufficiently fight and defend their country, and we will continue to support the Afghan security forces where necessary, in accordance with the guidance of the president and the secretary of defense. The future of Afghanistan is squarely in the hands of the Afghan people. There clearly is a narrative out there that the Taliban are winning. In fact, they are propagating an inevitable victory on their behalf. They’re dominating a lot of the airwaves on that sort of thing. I would tell you that as of today, more or less, I guess it’s about 212, 213. It’s in that range, two hundreds, of the district centers are in Taliban control. It’s about half of the 419 that are out there. You’ve got 34 provincial capitals in Afghanistan. None of them have been seized, as of today, by the Taliban. Although the Taliban is putting pressure on the outskirts of probably about half of them, 17 of them, in fact. And what they’re trying to do is isolate the major population centers. They’re trying to do the same thing to Kabul. And roughly speaking, order of magnitude, a significant amount of territory has been seized over the course of six, eight, 10 months, sort of thing, by the Taliban. So momentum appears to be, strategic momentum appears to be sort of with the Taliban. The Afghan security forces, though, are consolidating their forces. So part of this is they’re giving up district centers in order to consolidate their forces because they’re taking an approach to protect the population. And most of the population lives in the provincial capitals, in the capital city of Kabul. There’s a possibility of a negotiated outcome. That’s still out there. There’s a possibility of a complete Taliban takeover or possibility of any number of other scenarios, breakdowns, warlordism, all kinds of other scenarios are out there. We are monitoring very closely. I don’t think the endgame is yet written.

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