Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave an exclusive interview to Fox News’s Jennifer Griffin. He told Griffin that he expects a “resurgence” in terrorism following the United States’ ignominious retreat from Afghanistan.
“My military estimate is…that the conditions are likely to develop of a civil war,” Milley said. “I don’t know if the Taliban is going to [be] able to consolidate power and establish governance.”
The general’s premonition was followed by his concern that the terrorist organizations could use the disorder in Afghanistan as an opportunity to find gains.
“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,” he told Fox News.
Gen. Milley also gave an utterly useless prediction that the hasty retreat from Afghanistan could make al Qaeda great again in “12, 24, 36 months. And we’re going to monitor that.”
This is the same general who said he did not need Bagram Air Base when he testified under oath before Congress on June 23, 2021, after reportedly advising Joe Biden that the military did need it for intelligence and airstrikes against terrorism. This is the same general who came into the Biden term ranting about “white rage” rather than keeping his military eye on the military map to see what was coming.
Nevertheless, he’s likely to be proven right this time. Afghanistan now has an acting president who isn’t with the Taliban and who is trying to rally anti-Taliban forces. They are battling the Taliban in the country’s north without any U.S. assistance. The U.S. is hinting it may recognize the Taliban as Afghanistan’s legitimate government, which then opens the possibility of the U.S. siding with the Taliban against the anti-Taliban forces. That sounds crazy, but so did the idea that the U.S. military would just pull out of Bagram Air Base overnight without even telling our Afghan allies. Crazier still, the U.S. left hundreds of Americans behind enemy lines in Afghanistan, where they are vulnerable to terrorists.
Afghanistan already has a low-grade civil war, which it has had for most of its existence. It also has space now for al Qaeda, ISIS-K, and other terrorist groups to build bases and recruit and train. Milley can monitor that from Washington, listening to CENTCOM’s Gen. Frank McKenzie from his office in Tampa, Florida, all he wants. The Taliban itself has MRAP and Humvee vehicles along with hundreds of thousands of rifles, and even a rudimentary air force. That air force includes A-29 close air support aircraft, which were made in the U.S.–but the Super Tucano originates in the Brazilian air force in 2003. They’re low-maintenance aircraft compared to the Star Wars level fighters the U.S. flies. Several countries including Brazil, the Philippines, and Nigeria fly them, so parts may be available for cheap from multiple countries. Pakistan may well provide the Taliban maintenance support and even pilots to help the Taliban use those aircraft against the remaining Afghan anti-Taliban forces. Who’s to stop them?
Gen. Milley is the top general in the United States and the author within the military establishment of all this chaos to come. He answers to Biden, of course. But if he disagreed with anything Biden is doing, from politicizing the military to gifting terrorists a country and the first terrorist air force, he has avenues through which he could tell the American people what he thinks. But Gen. Mark Milley kept his stars on his shoulders while presiding over the most needlessly humiliating retreat in decades, perhaps in American history. That says volumes.