Retired General Jack Keane joined "America's News HQ" Saturday to give his assessment of the situation in Afghanistan after news broke that American and Afghan military personnel were fired on while conducting an operation in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province.
Several U.S. personnel were either injured or killed, but the exact number and other details were not provided, The Associated Press said, citing a U.S. official who agreed to discuss the incident only on the condition of anonymity.
"What they want us to do, [...] is obviously just give up and walk out of Afghanistan. And that would be a victory for them," Keane told anchor Arthel Neville.
Keane voiced his concern over the U.S.'s negotiations with the Taliban and said the group is focused on "overthrowing the government."
"What we're trying to do, what our negotiating team is trying to do is fashion a settlement with the Taliban that will, one of the principal conditions will be for them to start negotiations with the Afghan government," Keane said. "But we know for a fact that the Taliban, all they want is eventually to overthrow that government. They've never given up their desire for that. They're not looking about sharing power."
"Eighty five percent of the people are, still reject the Taliban. They've been rejecting them for 18 years in continuous surveys," Keane added. "This is the most unpopular insurgency that I've ever been aware of in history. So, yeah, they're not interested in a real political settlement."
Neville asked Keane how close the U.S. was to reducing forces in the region.
"I think the administration is pretty close to reducing those forces," Keane said. "And the administration likely not seeing a deal being made will probably just go ahead and unilaterally withdraw them and that'll precipitate a withdrawal in kind or at least a reduction in kind from NATO."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.