A picture captured on January 13, 2020 during a press tour organized by the US-led coalition to fight the remnants of the Islamic State Group shows US Army drones at the Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq’s Anbar province.
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WASHINGTON – The United States will maintain steady barrage of air strikes in Afghanistan as foreign troops leave the country amid the Taliban’s rapid advance on the battlefield.
“The United States has stepped up air strikes in support of the Afghan armed forces in recent days, and we stand ready to continue this increased support in the coming weeks if the Taliban continue their attacks,” wrote US Marine Corps General Frank. McKenzie in a statement.
Mckenzie, the combatant commander overseeing America’s wars in the Middle East, told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani over the weekend that the US would continue to launch air strikes but had made no promises about what would happen after August 31.
Marine Corps General Kenneth McKenzie Jr., Commander of US Central Command, testifies before the Senate Armed Forces Committee during his hearing on the US Central Command and US Africa Command in Review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2022 and the Future Years Defense Program in Washington on Thursday, April 22, 2021.
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“I have assured the government that we will continue air strikes in defense of ANDSF. carry out [Afghan National Defense and Security Forces] Forces under attack by the Taliban, contract logistics support both here in Kabul and across the horizon in the region, funding for them, exchange of information and advice and support through security consultations at a strategic level, “wrote McKenzie.
Last week the Pentagon confirmed media reports of night air strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Defense Department spokesman John Kirby refused to provide any further details about the attacks, including the type of aircraft used.
The attacks reflect Washington’s intention to provide fighter jets to the Afghan forces pending the withdrawal of US forces next month.
In April, President Joe Biden ordered the full withdrawal of approximately 3,000 US soldiers from Afghanistan by September 11, ending America’s longest war. Earlier this month, Biden gave an updated schedule, saying the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan would end on August 31.
US President of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General. Mark Milley attends a news conference at the Pentagon on May 6, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia.
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Last week, the country’s top military officer told reporters that the US had completed more than 95% of the massive withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The Pentagon has flown more than 980 loads of equipment from Afghanistan and handed over seven facilities to the Afghan Ministry of Defense, according to the latest update from Central Command.
In another symbolic end to the American military presence in the country, U.S. Army General Scott Miller, the last four-star commander to serve in Afghanistan, stepped down and returned to the United States.
The withdrawal of US and coalition forces, coupled with substantial Taliban gains, has raised concerns that the nation will once again succumb to terrorist organizations.
A new report from the United Nations found an increase in civilian casualties in Afghanistan from the first few months of 2021. According to the report, more than 2,300 civilian casualties were recorded in May and June, a number that almost surpasses the total of the previous four months.
Earlier this month, the Biden administration announced the start of evacuation flights for Afghan nationals and their families who supported U.S. and NATO coalition forces during the longest American war.