Daily US Times: A top US commander has said that Afghanistan risks sliding into civil war as the last American troops withdraw from the country.
Fighting has surged since the United States began leaving last month, with the Taliban seizing swathes of territory.
All remaining US soldiers are expected to withdraw by an 11 September deadline.
General Scott Miller said on Tuesday that the country could face “very hard times” if its leadership is unable to unite once international troops leave.
The warning from the commander of the US-led mission in Afghanistan came just days after the United Nations (UN) warned of “dire scenarios” as the Taliban took hold of many districts.
It said insurgents had taken more than 50 of 370 districts since May, encircling many cities and closing in on the capital Kabul.
In a rare news conference, Gen Miller said: “The security situation is not good right now. Civil war is certainly a path that can be visualised if this continues on the trajectory it’s on right now. That should be a concern to the world.”
The top US General accused the Taliban of failing to reduce violence in line with an agreement it struck with the US.
Taliban claims to have recently captured more than 100 districts across Afghanistan – something experts tie to the lack of US air support to Afghan forces.
But Gen Miller didn’t rule out the US using airstrikes against the Taliban.
He told reporters: “What I [would] like to see is no airstrikes, but to get to no airstrikes, you stop all violence.”
US-led forces ousted the Taliban from power in Afghanistan in October 2001 in the aftermath of the Twin Tower attack. The militant group had been harbouring Osama Bin Laden and other al-Qaeda figures linked to the 9/11 attacks in the US.