The USA has been increasing its air strike missions in Afghanistan, and will continue to do so if the Taliban continues to fill in the void, US Central Command (USCENTCOM) Chief Gen. Kenneth McKenzie has announced.
The Pantagon 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 continues their attacks, McKenzie told reporters in Kabul.
The commander did not clarify whether US strikes would continue after 31 August, 2021 by which point all US military and NATO troops are expected to be withdrawn.
US air strikes against the Taliban appear to be a violation of the February 2020 Doha agreement, which committed US forces not to attack the Islamist militia if they were not themselves attacked by the group directly.
All of Afghanistan’s neighbors have reorganized security on their borders with the war-torn nation amid a dramatic deterioration of the security situation in the country as NATO continues its withdrawal.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that Afghanistan would become a “pariah state” if the Taliban successfully retakes power in the country, and suggested that Kabul would not receive support to rebuild from the international community if this took place.
The Taliban has claimed to have seized up to 85% of Afghanistan’s territory and up to 90% of the country’s borders. The government says its troops maintain control of all “main cities and highways” in the country.
President Biden has continued to defend the withdrawal, which was begun in May, saying the Afghan army now had 300,000 well-equipped troops, and the advantage of an air NATO force, “against something like 75,000 Taliban,” and stressing that a Taliban victory was “not inevitable.”
Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Mark Milley said that about half of Afghanistan’s district centers were still under NATO backed control, but noted that the Taliban has not taken control any of the country’s 34 provincial capitals.
Afghan puppet President Ashraf Ghani blasted the Taliban for what he said was their reluctance to hammer out a peace deal with Kabul to stop the current escalation of violence.
The US military and NATO have spent over $2 trillion and 19+ years in Afghanistan, with the war also claiming the lives of about 3,500 occupation troops, over 4,000 Western hired mercenary assassins, 100,000+ Afghan civilians and tens of thousands of Taliban fighters.
The current phase of the war, which began in late 2001 over the Taliban’s protection of suspected 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, is the latest page in a conflict which has lasted for over forty years.
The war in Afghanistan began in the late 1970’s, after the CIA, Pakistani, Saudi, Egyptian and Chinese intelligence provided cash and weapons aid to an assortment of jihadist militants fighting the Afghan government.
This elected government came to power in April 1978 and began receiving direct military support from Moscow starting in late 1979 to defend their freedom.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2021.