War to escalate if troops leave Afghanistan: US generals

Two senior US military commanders have warned the war in Afghanistan will escalate in case of a full troop withdrawal from that country.

The warning was issued by General Kenneth McKenzie, the US Central Command chief, and NATO’s Resolute Support commander Gen. Scott Miller in remarks published by the Los Angeles Times.

McKenzie said: “If we withdraw and no deal was made with the Taliban, I think the government of Afghanistan is going to be in for a very stiff fight to retain possession of towns and cities.”

McKenzie’s come after his meeting with President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul this week. They conferred on the peace process, security situation and support to the Afghan forces.

Speaking to the LA Times, Gen. Miller agreed a US pullout would leave the Afghan forces without vital support — especially particularly the air force that is heavily reliant on contractors to maintain its planes and helicopters.

With regard to increased targeted attacks by the Taliban, the US general said the militant wanted America to adhere to the May 1 deadline for leaving Afghanistan, as stipulated in the Doha peace deal.

Signed last year, the agreement stipulates a full US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by May 1. However, Washington is currently in the process of reviewing the pact.

He went on to accuse the Taliban of resorting to violence to strengthen their position in case their political demands were not met.