Miller warns Taliban of airstrikes in case of continued violence

KABUL (Pajhwok): Top US commander in Afghanistan did not rule out fresh airstrikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan, warning civil war was a possibility if the ongoing security situation in the country not changed.
Talking to reports in Kabul, Gen. Scott Miller said that he did not like airstrikes, but the militants should stop violence if they did not want any military action from the US forces. “The best way to stop those, and I have actually told the Taliban this, is stop the offensive operations and air strikes,” he said.
Miller said that the US military still had the fire power to conduct air strikes against the insurgents even as it continued the withdrawal. He said that the security situation in Afghanistan was not good and the Afghan forces had been making adjustments to deal with the matter. When asked about the worsened security situation despite NATO’s two-decade mission in Afghanistan, he said that the unrest was continued for over four decades in the country and the best way was a political settlement for the Afghan people.
“The political settlement is something that — as we start talking about how does this all end — the way it must end for the Afghan people is something that revolves around a political solution…,” Miller said. In response to a question about a possible attempt by Taliban to take over Kabul, he said, “That’s something we should not see the Taliban trying to do if, in fact, we’re committed to a political settlement.”
He said that a military takeover was not on the interests of anyone, particularly for the people of Afghanistan. Miller said that the Afghan forces would be supported with equipment as of now if such attempts were made “and what I don’t want to do is speculate what that looks like in the future.”
Miller, who is soon to transition to another commander, acknowledged that any loss of territory has an impact on the overall security in the country. “Because districts start representing key terrain as it relates to security of the people, of the provincial capitals and certainly security of the capital,” he said.
When asked about possible civil war after US forces withdrawal, he said, “Civil war is certainly a path that can be visualized if this continues on the trajectory it’s on right now. That should be a concern to the world, and it’s certainly a concern to the region of creating a environment where there’s even more violence than there is today. So that’s something that both diplomatically and militarily we should really strive to prevent. In response to a question about the return of US forces in case of unexpected situations in Afghanistan, Miller said, “You asked about unexpected events, and that’s certainly a reality of life. What I would tell you is I do not anticipate a change in my orders. I believe my orders that I told you we received in April…” This comes as US and other international forces are scheduled to fully withdraw from Afghanistan by September.