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US vows continued support, airstrikes against Taliban

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KABUL: The United States has promised to continue air strikes against Taliban position in support for the Afghan security and defense forces and to prevent militants’ advance.

“The United States has recently increased aerial attacks in support for the Afghan forces and we are ready to further enhance it in case of Taliban’s continued attacks,” General Frank McKenzie, commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), said  Monday in Kabul where he made an unannounced visit, just like other American officials who enter Afghanistan without informing Kabul authorities.

The United States pounded Taliban’s positions last week in the provinces of Kandahar and Kunduz.

The US announced troops withdrawal early May, encouraging Taliban to target Afghan security forces and civilian institutions. The insurgents managed to capture more than 200 districts since May, putting President Ghani’s government in severe pressure.

“Taliban are trying to make helplessness feel against their attacks, but they are wrong,” said McKenzie.

He had said months back before the US departure that Afghan army would need Washington’s assistance post withdrawal, otherwise, he said the government in Kabul would collapse.

However, President Ghani assures that the national army and police have the “ability and capability of defending their homeland.”

Severe conflicts in Kandahar province forced 22,000 families to flee their homes.

“We are organizing our forces,” said Hafez Mohammad Akbar, a local pro-government force commander whose house is used by Taliban as a trench after he fled the area.

The US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called on Afghan army on Sunday to slow Talban’s advance.

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