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US: Taliban attacks not affecting Afghan troop withdrawal

Pentagon says ‘small harassing attacks’ by Taliban will not have an effect on September 11 pullout deadline set by President Joe Biden.

A United States Pentagon official says “small harassing attacks” by the Taliban in Afghanistan have not had a major affect on the continuing US and NATO troop withdrawal from the nation.

The assertion from Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby got here shortly after the US formally started its troop withdrawal on Saturday.

“What we’ve seen are some small harassing attacks over the course of the weekend that have not had any significant impact, certainly not on our people or our resources there and bases,” Kirby instructed reporters on Monday.

“We’ve seen nothing thus far that has affected the drawdown, or had any significant impact on the mission at hand in Afghanistan,” he mentioned.

President Joe Biden introduced on April 13 that every one US troops – which on the time numbered as many as 3,500 – will go away Afghanistan by September 11.

Officials quickly after introduced that the roughly 7,000 troops within the nation as a part of a NATO coalition would additionally go away.

Biden has mentioned the US withdrawal would not be “conditions-based”, which means the pullout is supposed to proceed no matter developments on the bottom.

In latest weeks, the Taliban has stepped up its attacks towards the US-backed Afghan authorities, elevating the prospect of attacks on US forces.

Meanwhile, combating within the first quarter of 2021 noticed 573 Afghan civilians killed and 1,210 wounded, a 29-percent improve from the earlier yr, in keeping with the United Nations.

Kirby mentioned the US navy will keep its means to reply to attacks all through the pullout, telling reporters that General Austin Miller, the US commander in Afghanistan, “certainly has at his disposal response options to make sure that he’s protecting our troops and our people”.

One incident, an assault on a navy airfield in Kandahar utilized by US forces, was beforehand dismissed by a US spokesman as “ineffective indirect fire” that resulted in no accidents.

On Saturday, as its forces started the withdrawal, the US navy launched a “precision strike” towards the supply of that fireplace, officers mentioned.

‘All that will be gone’

Fighting between the Taliban and Afghan authorities forces has raged within the wake of the US announcement, with greater than 100 Afghan safety forces personnel killed.

While Afghan President Hamid Karzai has mentioned the federal government is “ready” to proceed the battle following the withdrawal, at the very least one US navy official has questioned the flexibility of Afghan forces to carry territory towards the Taliban group, which was faraway from energy after international forces invaded practically 20 years in the past however nonetheless controls giant swaths of the nation.

In April, General Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, head of Central Command which directs forces in Afghanistan, voiced “concern” about Afghan forces now not having boots-on-the-ground help from international forces, together with for intelligence, firepower, and plane help.

“All that will be gone,” he instructed legislators on the US Senate Committee in April.

On Monday, Kirby additionally famous that the Pentagon was “well aware” of the dangers many Afghans who labored for the US and coalition forces face because the Taliban grows in energy and threatens to grab management in Kabul.

He mentioned US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is in talks with different officers “about how we meet our obligations to them.”

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