Pentagon Downplays Significance Of Taliban Taking Over All Of Afghanistan Last Night
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following the Taliban’s complete takeover of Afghanistan late last night, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook noted in an early morning press briefing that the Pentagon remains “generally positive” about the war effort and that “there is minimal cause for concern.”
“That’s how things go in a protracted counterinsurgency,” Cook told reporters. “You face some minor setbacks regardless of how many troops lose their lives or how many billions of taxpayer dollars are spent equipping local defense forces incapable of defending their own country.”
After the Taliban overran Afghan forces in Helmand earlier this year and took over the city of Kunduz this week, sources say the Obama Administration and many senior defense officials seemed surprised that major media outlets expressed even the slightest bit of interest in a war over a decade old.
At Central Command in Tampa, Fla., Gen. Lloyd Austin — who oversees forces in the region — assured reporters there was little cause for concern.
"We've seen this time and time again," Austin said. "This modest spike in Taliban attacks shows that our strategy is working. These massive coordinated attacks are merely the death throes of an insurgent movement."
Austin cited a range of historical and contemporary intelligence analyses to support his claim, adding: "Don't believe me? Just look at the history of insurgencies. The Tet Offensive, Saigon in '75, Iraq in 2006, every summer in Afghanistan since 2001."
Sources at the White House say the president has not been too concerned with the situation for at least a few months, especially after he declared a successful end to the war in 2014 and placed forces there at Defense Condition (DEFCON) "Chill."
Duffel Blog attempted to reach the commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan at his Kabul office but were ultimately unsuccessful. His new spokesman, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, stated that Gen. John Campbell and the U.S. Ambassador were unavailable for comment as they had departed Kabul via C-5 transport just a few hours earlier.