Washington (AP) — U.S. forces launched several airstrikes this week to support Afghan government forces fighting Taliban rebels, including strategically important Kandahar, officials said Thursday. ..
The strike shows the US intention to continue supporting Afghan troops with foreign-based fighters until at least the completion of the US military withdrawal scheduled for August 31st. completion.
The United States has a variety of fighters based in the Middle East within Afghanistan. This includes military aircraft on board aircraft carriers in the region, as well as fighters and bombers in the Persian Gulf region.
When asked by a reporter about news coverage of the Navy FA-18 airstrike in the Kandahar region, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby did not confirm details such as the type and location of the aircraft, but said, “For the past few days, we Acted. To support ANDSF through airstrikes, “using the acronym for Afghanistan Defense and Security Forces. “But I won’t go into the technical details of those strikes.”
These are the first known US airstrikes in Afghanistan, since General Scott Miller, Afghanistan’s highest US commander, abandoned his command and left the country last week. Since then, the authority to launch airstrikes on the Taliban has been in the hands of General Frank Mackenzie, commander of the United States Central Command, who oversees US military involvement in the Great Middle East.
Following Kirby’s comment, another defense official said on Wednesday and Thursday that the United States had carried out a total of four or more airstrikes to support Afghan troops. At least two of the strikes, officials said, were to destroy military equipment such as artillery and vehicles that the Taliban had stolen from Afghan troops. The Afghans demanded these strikes and strikes targeting the Taliban’s combat positions, including at least one strike in southern Kandahar.
US officials urged Afghans to utilize their own fighters and their US-trained ground forces. In recent months, Afghan troops have transferred a significant amount of territory to the Taliban, questioning its ability to withstand the United States after completing its withdrawal.
At a Pentagon press conference Wednesday, General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the future of Afghanistan was in the hands of the Afghan people and urged them to assert their will on the battlefield.
“Afghan security forces are well capable of fighting and defending their country and will continue to support Afghan security forces as needed under the guidance of the President and Secretary of Defense,” Millie said.
According to Millie, the Taliban currently control about half of Afghanistan’s 419 district centers and have not yet occupied any of Afghanistan’s 34 state capitals, but are putting pressure on about half. As the Taliban occupy more territory, Afghan security forces are strengthening their position to protect major densely populated areas, including Kabul, he said.
“The momentum looks similar to the Taliban, as a significant amount of territory was seized by the Taliban in six, eight or ten months-the strategic momentum,” Millie said.
After August 31, the end date set by President Joe Biden to complete the military withdrawal, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has focused the U.S. military’s main focus on the U.S. mainland from radical groups in Afghanistan. He said it was to counter the threat of. He added that the administration would provide financial and other types of support to the Afghan Defense Forces, even if there were no combat units or attack aircraft there.
“There is no doubt that we are committed to continuing to support Afghan security forces and the Afghan government. We are prepared to ensure that support is provided. I’m doing what I was trying to do, Austin said.