Afghan forces are “struggling” after the US withdrawal – The U.S. defense secretary said Afghan forces “will play a critical role” in stopping the Taliban, which is stepping up its attacks.
Afghan forces are “struggling” after the US withdrawal
MilitaryEzyInfo.com – A senior U.S. military official said on Thursday that U.S. forces in Afghanistan and NATO members are now aiming to complete their withdrawal by September 11, after which they will shift their priorities to helping Afghan security forces “evacuate into the abyss.
Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a Pentagon briefing with Austin that there have been 80 to 100 daily attacks by the Taliban on Afghan forces over the past year, but not a single attack on the U.S. forces.
The withdrawal of U.S. troops is part of a February 2020 agreement between the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump and the Taliban in which the Taliban would negotiate with Afghanistan’s democratically elected government to withdraw foreign troops from Afghanistan in exchange for security guarantees by the Taliban.
U.S. and Afghan officials have accused the Taliban of reneging on parts of the agreement. Under the deal, the withdrawal was supposed to be completed by May 1.
Last month, President Joe Biden abandoned the conditional approach and ordered the withdrawal of all troops on Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the al-Qaida attacks in Washington and New York that triggered the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
So far, U.S. forces have closed bases in Helmand province, 60 transport planes have left the country and 1,300 pieces of equipment have been destroyed or handed over to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), Milley said.
In a series of Taliban offensives since May 1, including in Helmand province, Taliban fighters have taken over a dam that supplies irrigation, electricity, and drinking water in southern Kandahar province, it was revealed Thursday.
U.S. contractors have also pulled out, which could make it difficult to operate the new air force in Afghanistan. According to Milley, 80 to 90 percent of the team’s airstrikes are in support of Afghan ground forces.
Most of the aircraft and helicopters are operated by international contractors, and how to operate without them “is an important question that depends on the situation and security on the ground,” Milley said.
Austin said the U.S. will continue to provide financial and logistical support to Afghan forces from abroad after the troops are withdrawn.