General Austin Miller Worried Afghanistan Will Dissolve into Civil War After U.S. Leaves

U.S. General Austin Miller is worried Afghanistan will dissolve into civil war after the U.S. leaves and fully withdraws its troops.

Afghanistan's top U.S. general discussed how the Taliban is quickly taking over some of the country's districts, mostly in the northern region, while speaking to reporters in Kabul on Tuesday. He raised concerns over escalating violence as a result.

"It is a political settlement that brings peace to Afghanistan. And it's not just the last 20 years. It's really the last 42 years," Miller said.

He pointed to the U.S. war in Afghanistan but also Russia's decade-long occupation of the country up until 1989 when a violent civil war ensued afterward. The country's leaders had militias fight the Taliban but the group ultimately rose to power in 1996, according to the Associated Press.

U.S. General Austin Miller in Afghanistan
Afghan politician Gul Agha Sherzai (C-R) shakes hands with Commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan General Austin Scott Miller (C-L) ahead of a press conference attended by Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper at the presidential palace in Kabul on February 29, 2020. Miller is concerned Afghanistan will plunge into a civil war after the U.S. leaves. Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Miller gave a sobering assessment of the country's deteriorating security situation as America winds down its so-called "forever war."

He said the rapid loss of districts around the country to the Taliban — several with significant strategic value — is worrisome. He also cautioned that the militias deployed to help the beleaguered national security forces could lead the country into civil war.

Miller told a small group of reporters in the Afghan capital that for now he has the weapons and the capability to aid Afghanistan's National Defense and Security Forces.

American officials have said the entire pullout of U.S. troops will most likely be completely finished by July 4. But Miller refused to give any date or time frame, referring only to the Sept. 11 timeline given by President Joe Biden in April when he announced the final withdrawal of the remaining 2,500-3,500 American troops.

The north of the country is dominated by Afghanistan's minorities. The north is also the traditional stronghold of many former mujahedeen leaders that have been a dominant force in Afghanistan since driving the Taliban from power in 2001 together with the U.S.-led coalition.

Several of the districts have been on key roads and one on the border with northern Tajikistan. The Taliban have issued statements saying hundreds of Afghan security forces have surrendered, most of them going to their homes after being videoed receiving transportation money from the Taliban.

Miller said there's multiple reasons for the collapse of districts, some the fatigue of the troops and their surrender, psychological defeat and military loss.

"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," said Miller. "I've also said that if you don't reduce the violence, that political solution becomes more and more difficult."

He refused to say where the U.S. and its NATO allies were in the withdrawal process.

Miller said his time as the head of the U.S.'s military mission in Afghanistan was coming to an end, without giving a date,

He wouldn't speculate on the legacy of America's longest war, saying it will be for history to decide.