Afghanistan-backed military forces face the potential for “bad possible outcomes” after the United States begins its final troop withdrawal from the nation, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff warned.
Speaking to Associated Press and CNN reporters Saturday while flying from Hawaii to Washington, DC, Gen. Mark Milley made the remarks while explaining how Afghan forces planned to operate without US military personnel in the area.
The Afghan military, as well as other law enforcement entities in the area, are “reasonably well equipped, reasonably well trained, reasonably well led,” the Joint Chiefs chairman noted.
“The Afghan army, do they stay together and remain a cohesive fighting force or do they fall apart? I think there’s a range of scenarios here, a range of outcomes, a range of possibilities,” he went on to say.
“On the one hand, you get some really dramatic, bad possible outcomes. On the other hand, you get a military that stays together and a government that stays together,” he continued, noting how both possibilities needed to be considered.
As for which of the two “becomes reality” once the withdrawal is complete, Milley said we will have to “wait and see.”
“We frankly don’t know yet. We have to wait and see how things develop over the summer. There’s a lot of variables to this, and it’s not 100 percent predictable.”
His comments come as the withdrawal is in motion, a process on which President Biden placed a Sept. 11 deadline.
Biden announced that deadline in April, offering US troops an additional four months from former President Donald Trump’s order to withdraw all troops from the nation by May 1.
Biden had hinted prior to the announcement that Trump’s withdrawal date would be hard to meet due to “tactical reasons” and would be impossible to accomplish in a safe and orderly fashion.
In a speech explaining his decision, Biden argued that the US had achieved its goal of bringing Osama bin Laden to justice and destroying al Qaeda, his terror network, a contention that many progressives and a growing number of Republicans support.
“I’ve concluded it’s time to end America’s longest war. It’s time for American troops to come home,” Biden said at the time.
“I’m now the fourth United States president to preside over American troop presence in Afghanistan: two Republicans, two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth.”
Critics of the move have cautioned that it could lead to the creation of a new ISIS, as President Barack Obama’s decision to withdraw from Iraq did in 2011.
Trump slammed Biden’s decision to move the date from May to Sept. 11, arguing the latter date “should remain a day of reflection and remembrance.”
“September 11th represents a very sad event and period for our Country and should remain a day of reflection and remembrance honoring those great souls we lost,” he said.
Instead, Trump urged Biden to “keep as close” as possible to his own goal of getting the troops out on May 1.
With Post wires
Originally published at https://nypost.com/2021/05/03/joint-chiefs-chairman-afghan-forces-could-face-bad-possible-outcomes/ on .