Adding to the chorus of US officials warning against an Afghanistan withdrawal, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of US Central Command (CENTCOM), said a US pull out without a deal with the Taliban will lead to more violence in the country.
“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 said on Saturday while in Kabul, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The US-Taliban peace deal signed last year set May 1st as a withdrawal date. It appears now that the Biden administration is hoping to push back that date. The US recently presented a new power-sharing deal to the Taliban and the US-backed Afghan government, and the two sides are deliberating on the proposal.
While McKenzie is warning there will be more violence if the US leaves, fighting between the Afghan government and the Taliban has been raging for months. If the US stays in Afghanistan beyond May 1st against the will of the Taliban, it almost guarantees that US soldiers will again be targeted. February 8th marked the first full year since the war began in 2001 that no US troops died in combat in Afghanistan.