I had no indication that Afghan government would collapse so quickly: top US general

World

Published: 2021-08-19 09:30

Last Updated: 2024-04-21 07:25


I had no indication that Afghan government would collapse so quickly: top US general
I had no indication that Afghan government would collapse so quickly: top US general

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, said Wednesday that there was no sign of a rapid takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban with the withdrawal of US forces from the country.

"I had no indication of the collapse of this army and this government in 11 days," Milley told reporters.

"The Afghan security forces had the ability, and by that I mean training- a lot- and the ability to defend their country," he said.

Taliban officials met on Wednesday with former Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, a day after the insurgents who seized control of Afghanistan promised to work for national reconciliation and forgive their opponents, and after Westerners warned that they would judge the "actions" of the extremist movement.

The movement published a picture of Karzai alongside a member of the movement's negotiating team, Anas Haqqani.

Life is slowly beginning to return to Kabul, although fear persists. Calm prevailed in the Afghan capital on Wednesday, while most departments and companies remained closed on the Ashura commemoration, which is commemorated by Shiites.

Large crowds continued to gather in front of foreign embassies amid rumors of possible visas and asylum.

After fleeing Afghanistan over the weekend, it was announced on Wednesday that President Ashraf Ghani and his family had taken refuge in the United Arab Emirates, where he made a video speech at night "to the nation.'

Ghani announced his support for talks between the movement and former senior government officials and was "in talks" to return to Afghanistan.

Tuesday, the Taliban tried to reassure the international community in its first press conference in Kabul, two days after seizing power, while Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the second-highest man in the movement, returned to Afghanistan.

The world remembers the movement's very bleak human rights record when it ruled the country between 1996 and 2001.

"All those in the opposition camp have been fully pardoned," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said. "We are not seeking revenge."

He added that the movement learned lessons from its first rule and the way it will run the country will be "very different (...) although there is no difference" on the ideological level.