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U.S offers further air support to Afghan troops amid Taliban offensive

WorldJul 25, 2021 03:16PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. U.S. Marine Corps General Kenneth McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, speaks during a news conference, in Kabul, Afghanistan July 25, 2021. REUTERS/Staff 2/2

KABUL (Reuters) - United States will to continue to carry out airstrikes to support Afghan forces facing attack from the insurgent Taliban, a regional U.S. commander said on Sunday as U.S. and other international forces have drawn down troops in Afghanistan.

The Taliban escalated its offensive in recent weeks, taking rural districts and surrounding provincial capitals, after U.S. President Joe Biden said in April U.S. troops would be withdrawn by September, ending a 20-year foreign military presence.

"The United States has increased airstrikes in support of Afghan forces over the last several days and we're prepared to continue this heightened level of support in the coming weeks if the Taliban continue their attacks," U.S. Marine General Kenneth McKenzie told a news conference in Kabul.

McKenzie, who leads U.S. Central Command, which controls U.S. forces for a region that includes Afghanistan, declined to say whether U.S. forces would continue airstrikes after the end of their military mission on Aug. 31.

"The government of Afghanistan faces a stern test in the days ahead ... The Taliban are attempting to create a sense of inevitability about their campaign," he said.

But he said a Taliban victory was not inevitable and a political solution remained a possibility.

Afghan government and Taliban negotiators have met in Qatar's capital Doha in recent weeks, although diplomats say there have been few signs of substantive process since peace talks began in September.

Reeling from battlefield losses, Afghanistan's military is overhauling its war strategy against the Taliban to concentrate forces around the most critical areas like Kabul and other cities, border crossings and vital infrastructure, Afghan and U.S. officials have said.

McKenzie said there would likely be a rise in violence after a lull over a Muslim holiday this week and said the Taliban could focus on populated urban centres.

"They are going to have to deal with the cities if they want to try and claw their way back into power" he said. "I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that they are going to be able to capture these urban areas."

U.S offers further air support to Afghan troops amid Taliban offensive
 

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Comments (4)
Louis Moore Bacon
Louis Moore Bacon Jul 26, 2021 12:37AM ET
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In 20 years, all the US has accomplished is to basically arm the Taliban. As the Afghani forces retreat, the Taliban seize all the weapons. Way to go USA! Another cluster f0ck.
David David
David9 Jul 25, 2021 8:49PM ET
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Bombing and ******is not the answer. If you want to solve a conflict, you need to sit down at a table and negotiate... that is the only answer...
Jose Maderno
Jose Maderno Jul 25, 2021 6:02PM ET
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Let this be a lesson to anyone hoping the U.S. will be there when you need them.  They won't be there unless you have something they really want.  Taiwan are you listening?  Don't let TSMC build semiconductor factories on U.S. soil. Intel can't build what America needs....keep it that way.  Hong Kong are you listening?
Mart Bab
Rubberduck1973 Jul 25, 2021 5:29PM ET
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Thank you Amerika. Respect your choice to leave but also really happy for the above. EU and UK should do the same.
 
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