US General Vows To Continue Air Strikes Supporting Afghan Troops
Faizan Hashmi 2 months ago Mon 26th July 2021 | 12:40 AM
Kabul, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 26th Jul, 2021 ) :The United States will continue air strikes in support of Afghan forces fighting the Taliban, a top US general said Sunday, as the insurgents press on with offensives across the country.
Since early May, violence has surged after the insurgents launched a sweeping assault just days after the US-led foreign forces began their final withdrawal which is now almost complete.
"The United States has increased air strikes in the support of Afghan forces over the last several days, and we are prepared to continue this heightened level of support in the coming weeks if the Taliban continue their attacks," General Kenneth McKenzie, head of the US Army Central Command, told reporters in Kabul.
"The Taliban are attempting to create a sense of inevitability about their campaign. They are wrong," he said.
"Taliban victory is not inevitable," he said, adding the US military will continue giving logistical support to Afghan air force even after the end of August 31 when all foreign forces are expected to leave.
But on Sunday McKenzie vowed to support Afghan air force going forward, and that the US air force will also retain ability to "strike into Afghanistan" against two other jihadist groups the Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaeda.
"I don't think it's going to be an easy path .. (but) I do not accept the narrative that there is going to be a civil war of necessity," he said.
McKenzie's remarks came as about 22,000 families were displaced by the fighting in the past month in the southern city of Kandahar itself.
Kandahar resident Hafiz Mohammad Akbar said his house had been taken over by the Taliban after he fled.
"They forced us to leave... I am now living with my 20-member family in a compound with no toilet," said Akbar.
- Fears over more fighting - Residents expressed concerns the fighting might increase in days ahead.
"If they really want to fight, they should go to a desert and fight, not destroy the city," said Khan Mohammad, who moved to a camp with his family.
Their latest offensive launched in early May has seen the group take control of half of the country's about 400 districts.
Global rights group Human Rights Watch said there were reports the Taliban were committing atrocities against civilians in areas they had captured, including in the town of Spin Boldak near the border with Pakistan they took earlier this month.
"Taliban leaders have denied responsibility for any abuses, but growing evidence of expulsions, arbitrary detentions, and killings in areas under their control are raising fears among the population," said Patricia Grossman, associate Asia director at HRW said in a statement.
The attack was however claimed by IS.