Has the Taliban made significant gains in Afghanistan? Are they close to overrunning the country from where the US armed forces left after about 20 years? The top US General thinks the Taliban forces are, once again, in the cusp of taking the war-torn country in their control.
The Taliban, which now control about half of the country's 400 districts, now have the "strategic momentum" to regain power, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff General Mark Milley said.
"Strategic momentum appears to be sort of with the Taliban," Milley said.
According to the General, the militants are making sweeping offensives across the nation. However, a factor that might stop them in their tracks is that the group has not, so far, taken control of any of the largest cities.
The Afghan military is in pitched battles with Taliban as the resurgent group piles pressure on provincial capitals.
However, Milley says the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is not a 'foregone conclusion'. He adds that if the Afghan forces display the will and leadership to fend off Taliban could yet yield results.
However, that sounds easier than done as the militants are making advances every single day. Taliban say they want a political settlement with the government, but their real intention appears to be to gain control of Kabul.
Complete Taliban Takeover
"There's a possibility of a complete Taliban takeover or possibility of any number of other scenarios - breakdowns, warlordism, all kinds of other scenarios out there ... We're monitoring very closely. I don't think the end game is yet written," Milley said, according to Agence-France Presse.
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani underscores those fears. The President said on Wednesday that the Taliban forces have links with terror outfits like Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed. The group is looking at converting Afghanistan into "a haven for insurgents," the president added, according to ANI news agency.
Ghani added that by sending the Afghan delegation to Doha for peace talks with Afghanistan, Kabul was testing the militant outfit's resolve for peace. Ghani said the group does not show the will for peace.
"The Taliban made clear many things. Abdullah told me some minutes ago that there is no will for peace among the Taliban. We sent the delegation ... to show that we have the will for peace and we are ready for sacrifice for it, but they (Taliban) have no will for peace and we should make decisions based on this," he said.