Despite the results, Wednesday (18), of a new confusion with wounded at Kabul airport, in the rush to leave Afghanistan after the seizure of local power by the Taliban, the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and the Chief of the General Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, says the situation in the country is safe.
In their first press conference since the Islamic fundamentalist group returned to power in Afghanistan, they stressed that the priority of the United States is to maintain security for the expulsion of those – those who are allowed to leave.
Lloyd, who stressed his personal connection to the conflict as he led divisions in the Central Asian country for two years, said there had been no hostile interactions with the Taliban and that the communication with the group’s commanders remained open, “as it should be”.
According to Milley, it was the fighters who provided safe passage for those allowed to leave the country – in short, Americans and immigrant visa holders.
The Defense Secretary, however, made it clear that the US military was unable to assist those who wish to arrive at Kabul airport, as the focus has been on airspace security.
The Chief of Staff, on the other hand, acknowledged that there is a risk posed by unarmed civilians, such as those who surrounded the C-17 military freighter in a desperate attempt to embark to flee the country – the chaos that engulfed the capital’s airport on Monday (16) left at least seven dead.
Milley also spoke of various intelligence reports which indicated the possibility of three scenarios: the Taliban takeover followed by a rapid collapse of the Afghan government; a civil war; and a negotiation for the transition of power.
“The time for a rapid collapse has been estimated to be weeks, months and even years after our departure,” the general said. “There was nothing that I or anyone else saw that indicated a collapse of the military and government in 11 days.”
The statement follows the publication of a report in the US newspaper The New York Times on intelligence reports prepared in recent months that pointed to the collapse of the Afghan government, while President Joe Biden said he was little likely it will happen so quickly. .
The Taliban offensive began shortly after Biden announced a date set (September 11) for the withdrawal of US troops in April. The US president, shortly after, postponed his departure until August 31, as the apprehension of Afghans grew, especially among those who worked for the Americans.
From the first day of August, the extremist group stepped up its advance, conquering important cities and provincial capitals, until it sealed its victory with the capture of Kabul on Sunday (15).
The scenes of chaos and desperation that followed struck the image of the Biden government, which in turn washed its hands and said the mission in the country has always been to fight terrorism, not to work for nation building.
This Wednesday, Milley did not contradict her boss and cast appreciations on the future. “There will be plenty of time to do AARs [revisões pós-ação, na sigla em inglês] and now is not the time, “he said.” Now we have to focus on this mission because there are soldiers, American and Afghan citizens who have supported us at risk. It is personal. and let them out [do país]. “