Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley: ‘Very Good Probability’ of Civil War in Afghanistan

U.S. Army General Mark Milley testifies at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination to become the Army’s chief of staff, on Capitol Hill in Washington July 21, 2015. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst )

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff general Mark Milley warned that Afghanistan would likely descend into a state of civil war following the U.S. withdrawal from the country, in an interview with Fox News on Saturday.

Speaking at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where U.S. forces are processing 17,000 Afghans who fled the country after the Taliban assumed control, Milley said Afghanistan could see a “resurgence” in terrorist activity within the next one to three years.

“My military estimate is that the conditions are likely to develop of a civil war. I don’t know if the Taliban is going to [be] able to consolidate power and establish governance,” Milley told Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin.

“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 a reconstitution of al-Qaeda or a growth of ISIS or other myriad of terrorist groups,” Milley added. “The conditions are very likely, in my opinion . . . you could see a resurgence of terrorism coming out of that general region within 12, 24, 36 months.”

The Biden administration completed its withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan last week, leaving behind hundreds of Americans and Afghan allies of the U.S. The Taliban are now attempting to reassert control over the country.

Last week, Milley told reporters at the Pentagon that it was “possible” that the U.S. could coordinate operations against ISIS-K in Afghanistan with the Taliban. ISIS-K killed 13 American soldiers and close to 200 Afghans in a suicide bombing at the Kabul airport on August 19, in the deadliest attack on U.S. troops in Afghanistan since 2011.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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