US Marines from Charlie 1/1 of the 15th MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit) fill sandbags around their light mortar position at the front of a US Marine Corps base, near a cardboard sign reminding everyone that Taliban troops are everywhere and anywhere in the south could be Afghanistan December 1, 2001.
Jim Hollander | Reuters
WASHINGTON – The United States launched overnight air strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan, a move reflecting Washington’s intentions to continue to provide fighter jets to the Afghan forces until the US forces withdraw next month.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby refused to provide any further details about the attacks on Thursday, including the type of aircraft used.
The attacks are the first to become known since Army General Scott Miller, America’s last four-star commander to serve in Afghanistan, stepped down and returned to the United States.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (left) and Joint Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley greet Gen. Austin S. Miller, former U.S. Supreme Commander in Afghanistan, upon his return to Andrews Air Force Base, July 14, 2021.
Alex Brandon | Reuters
In April, Biden ordered the full withdrawal of approximately 3,000 US troops from Afghanistan by September 11, effectively ending America’s longest war. Last week, Biden gave an updated schedule, saying the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan will end on August 31st.
“We didn’t go to Afghanistan to build a nation,” said Biden. “It is up to the Afghans to decide the future of their country.”
At the Pentagon, the country’s top military officer told reporters on Wednesday that the US has completed more than 95% of the Herculean task of withdrawing from Afghanistan.
“The sheer volume of movement on this operation was exceptional,” said General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of the US Army, adding that the US had carried out more than 980 air transports of cargo in less than three months.
“In addition, all military bases outside of Kabul were completely handed over to the Afghan Ministry of Defense and the Afghan security forces.”
Last week the White House announced it would begin evacuation flights this month for Afghan nationals and their families who supported U.S. and NATO coalition forces during the longest American war.