US general expects more suicide attacks in Afghanistan

A top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said he expects to see more suicide attacks, as U.S. forces prepare to leave the country.

Army Lt. Gen. Mark Milley said the attacks could be similar to the Jan. 17 suicide attack in Kabul that killed 21 civilians dining at a restaurant. 

“I would expect more suicide-type, high-profile, spectacular attacks,” said Milley, commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force Joint Command. 

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“I would expect that those would be aimed at Afghan security forces, Afghan officials, ISAF — our own forces, as well as innocent civilians,” Milley said at a Pentagon briefing on Thursday. 

The Jan. 17 attack involved Taliban suicide bombers and gunmen who broke through the doors of a popular Lebanese restaurant and began shooting at civilians inside.

However, Milley said the Taliban were “on the edge of strategic defeat,” and they were losing the battle of popular opinion within Afghanistan’s most populated areas, as well as the tactical fight. 

“The Taliban lost the fight in the summer of 2013,” he said. 

Over the next year, the Afghan forces will need help with improving their aviation, logistics, special operations, intelligence, medical and counter improvised explosive device (IED) capabilities. 

Milley said international forces would focus on shoring up those capabilities within the next 11 months left before the NATO combat mission ends

Some of those capabilities might take more than a year to develop, Milley said, but he declined to say whether U.S. troops were needed in Afghanistan post-2014

“We have to wait and see what the political leaders of the various countries involved decide,” he said.