Suicide attacks in Afghanistan could increase in the coming months, according to Fort Hood’s top general.
Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, commander of III Corps and Fort Hood, briefed the media Thursday from his post as commander of International Security Assistance Force Joint Command. He is in his final weeks of the job.
With its popularity declining, Milley said the Taliban has nothing else but to turn to terror tactics. It is down to a 10 percent to 15 percent support rate, he said referencing data collected through intelligence and polling.
“If you’re the insurgent and you’re trying to seize power and overthrow the regime, those numbers are not favorable to you,” he said. “The combat power in an insurgency is more than just the number of battles won and lost. In fact, that’s probably the least important. But the credibility of the force, the credibility of the government, the credibility of the insurgent matter a whole lot. And the Taliban have very, very little credibility throughout the country from a political standpoint.”
Desperate suicide attacks, such as the most recent on a popular restaurant in Kabul, show the enemy doesn’t have the capacity to meet its intent to take over the Afghan government, said a senior ISAF Joint Command official, who asked not to be named for security reasons.
“They’ve seen Afghan security forces operate very well,” he said. “That leaves what it leaves all true terrorists, which is acts of terror. These are very hard to detect.”
The goal of these sort of attacks is simply to get the attention of the Afghans and NATO forces, and to disrupt life.
“In city of 3.7 million people, for something like that to occur is absolutely there,” the official said. “They only have to get lucky once.”
The corps has about two weeks left before handing over authority to the 18th Airborne Corps out of Fort Bragg, N.C.
Of the less than 34,000 American troops in the country, about 6,000 are from Fort Hood.
Much of future operations in Afghanistan is pending the Afghan president signing a bilateral security agreement beyond 2014.
“I would tell you that we have a base plan, and everything that we’ve planned is built upon an assumption that an agreement will be reached,” Milley said. “That’s what NATO has instructed us. That’s what our plans are. Unless directed otherwise, we’ll proceed down there.”