General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated Wednesday that ‘conditions will be set’ in Afghanistan for ISIS and Al Qaeda to resurge. This could happen in as little as six to eight months. 

‘My own personal estimate is that the conditions are likely to be set for a reconstituted ISIS or Al Qaeda, I gave out windows of time – 6 months, I gave it out 36 months, somewhere in that window,’ Milley told NBC’s Lester Holt at the Aspen Security Forum.

“Does this mean they will attack America?” Maybe. Milley said, “That depends.” 

According to the chairman, Taliban will be ‘challenged as to whether or not they can ‘adequately guvern’ Afghanistan. If Afghanistan collapses into ‘warring factions’, in which case Al Qaeda could easily reconstitute.    

Milley was asked if the US troops would need to reoccupy.  

‘With Al Qaeda, with ISIS and with the Taliban and other groups, until and unless that movement and ideology ceases, we’re going to be dealing with terrorism for a long time to come,’ Milley said. 

The chairman stated that the US State Department was in talks with Taliban “day to day” about getting more Americans out Afghanistan. 

Last month, the Pentagon admitted that up to 450 Americans were still in Afghanistan. This is more than what the Biden administration previously acknowledged.

Colin H. Kahl is the undersecretary for defense policy and stated that the US has been in contact with 196 Americans ready to leave, and that 243 Americans have been in contact, or are not, to leave. 

'My own personal estimate is that the conditions are likely to be set for a reconstituted ISIS or Al Qaeda, I gave out windows of time - 6 months, I gave it out 36 months, somewhere in that window,' Milley told NBC's Lester Holt

Milley said that he believed the conditions would be set for a reconstituted ISIS/Al Qaeda. Milley shared his personal opinion with Lester Holt of NBC.

Taliban stands guard outside the military hospital, a day after bomb blasts and attack by IS militants, in Kabul, Afghanistan on Wednesday

Taliban guards the military hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, one day after bomb blasts and an attack by IS militants on Wednesday

The chairman said that the Taliban are going to be 'challenged' as to whether they can 'adequately govern' or if Afghanistan is going to crumble into 'warring factions,' in which case ISIS and Al Qaeda would easily reconstitute

The chairman stated that the Taliban will be ‘challenged’ to determine if they can ‘adequately manage’ Afghanistan or if it will crumble into ‘warring parties’, in which case Al Qaeda and ISIS would quickly reconstitute.

Taliban stand guard as people move forward to cross into Pakistan at Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan on Wednesday

As people cross into Pakistan at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, in Spin Boldak (Afghanistan), Wednesday, the Taliban guard those crossing. 

Milley stated that the US is using a ‘whole-of-government’ approach to looking for signs of a reconstituted ISIS/al Qaeda. Milley stated that if this were to happen, he would present to the president a variety of options to ‘delay or disrupt’ the terrorist group. 

Milley also said that the US has the capability to defend Taiwan against an encroaching China. 

“We absolutely have the ability to do all sorts of things around the world, including those,” the chairman stated. ‘If necessary, those are presidential policy decisions. But we absolutely have the ability, there’s no doubt about that. 

Milley maintained that the US’s policy toward the island democracy was still based upon the Taiwan Relations Act, and was modeled on ‘ambiguity’.  

Milley stated that the US is experiencing one of the biggest shifts in global strategic power due to China’s rapid-developing strategic capabilities. 

“They are clearly challenging US regionally, and their aspiration to challenge the US global, they’ve been very explicit about that.

Last week, the chairman said China’s missile development is ‘very close’  to another ‘Sputnik moment.’  

Tensions have been rising around Taiwan’s island in recent weeks. China has intensified its military operations around Taiwan, and used more bellicose words. 

The U.S. also made it clear that it will continue to support Taiwan’s defense.

Biden stated that the US would not change its attitude on issues like sea lanes and international airspace, as well as cybersecurity. 

“I don’t expect there to be an armed conflict, and I’m not looking for it.” 

Milley’s remarks were immediately followed by a Pentagon report indicating that China could have up to 1,000 nuclear warheads by end of the decade. 

The Department of Defense calculated that China’s nuclear weapons stockpile was around the low-200s last year.