AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Senior American officials have said the Taliban, after the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan, would once again be able to attack major cities in the country.
Lt Gen Vincent Stewart, the director of defense intelligence agency told members of House Armed Services Committee said that however, the Taliban, al Qaeda, and their extremist allies will likely seek to exploit the reduced coalition presence by pressuring the Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) units in rural areas, conducting high-profile attacks in major population centers and expanding their safe havens.”
He said that he expected the ANSF to maintain stability and security in Kabul and key urban areas while retaining freedom of movement on major highways.
Stewart added that the ANSF would remain reliant on coalition enablers for air, intelligence and maintenance support. “The ANSF will struggle to effectively fill the void created by the withdrawal of foreign troops, deal with interoperability challenges between the army and police, and address persistent maintenance and logistical issues,” he said.
He noted that the Afghan National Army (ANA) was the most proficient security institution in the country and had shown the capacity to plan and conduct multi-corps operations in high-threat areas. “Though, the ANA will continue to struggle with permanently denying insurgents freedom of movement in rural areas and will remain constrained by its stretched airlift and logistical capacity,” he added.
Stewart warned that the Taliban would be able to conduct attacks in urban areas through at least 2018—two years after the scheduled withdrawal of all US troops.
He also said that the development of the ANSF capabilities in 2015 would be critical as the insurgency would again attempt to increase its influence in rural areas, operate in larger formations and continue to test security forces by temporarily seizing a number of vulnerable rural checkpoints.
The concerns and remarks by the American senior official comes at as the Afghan Defense Ministry said the other day that there is no need to increase number of international troops it the country, and the Afghan forces are well capable of defending militants and ensuring safety of Afghans.