Afghan fighting rages as US forces see exit

Hundreds of Taliban fighters have been killed in fierce battles with authorities forces throughout a number of provinces of Afghanistan, officers mentioned Saturday, as Washington introduced it could end withdrawing its troops from the nation by the tip of August.

Washington’s announcement got here in any case US and NATO troops vacated their principal Bagram Air Base, from the place the coalition forces led operations for 20 years in opposition to the Taliban and their Al-Qaeda allies. 

Over the previous 24 hours, greater than 300 Taliban fighters have been killed in fighting with authorities forces, the Ministry of Defence mentioned Saturday.

Scores have been killed in airstrikes, together with a pre-dawn assault on Saturday, within the southern province of Helmand, the place the insurgents and authorities troops have commonly clashed.

There have been fears that Afghan forces would battle with out the air assist that the United States has offered.

“In recent days, the Afghan air force has intensified its airstrikes against the Taliban hideouts and the insurgents have suffered casualties,” Attaullah Afghan, a member of Helmand provincial council, instructed AFP.

The Taliban rejected the federal government’s claims.

Both sides typically exaggerate one another’s casualties and their claims are tough to independently confirm.

But since May 1 when the US army started its ultimate withdrawal of about 2,500 troops, the 2 warring sides have clashed fiercely throughout the rugged countryside as peace talks between them have faltered.

As a outcome, the Taliban have seized dozens of districts in blistering assaults focusing on authorities forces. 

The insurgents have encircled nearly all main cities throughout the nation, and on Saturday claimed to grab seven extra districts within the northeastern province of Badakhshan.

Top US envoy to Kabul, Ross Wilson, lashed out on the insurgents.

“The Taliban is using violent propaganda and hate speech to intimidate, threaten & attack Afghans on social media,” Wilson mentioned on Twitter on Saturday.

“Violence and terror cannot create peace.” 

The Pentagon pressed on with its withdrawal to finish America’s longest struggle.

On Friday, all US and NATO troops left Bagram Air Base, signalling that the army involvement for coalition forces was lastly nearing its finish.

‘Hub for foreign intervention’

Over the years, the mini-city north of Kabul has been visited by a whole lot of hundreds of US and NATO service members and contractors. 

It has nice army and symbolic significance.

“For many Afghans, Bagram is remembered as the hub for more than one foreign intervention, as it was the main airbase for the Soviets throughout their occupation of the country as well,” mentioned Andrew Watkins, an Afghanistan professional on the International Crisis Group.

“Not only has it been the entry point of most foreign troops that have passed through the country since 2001, but it has also been home to many of the in-country air assets that have lent the Afghan security forces such a vital advantage on the battlefield.”

The exit of international troops from Bagram has additional fuelled considerations the nation may slide into a brand new civil struggle, as within the Nineties after the Soviets left.

“I see history repeating. The Americans are doing the same what the Russians did. They are going without ending the war,” mentioned Kabul resident Dawood Hotak.

“I feel our country will slide back into another civil war as the Taliban have intensified their attacks and the Americans are exiting.”

US President Joe Biden tried to ease these considerations on the White House on Friday.

He mentioned the US army is retaining an “over the horizon capacity” which might convey firepower to assist the federal government and its forces if wanted.

Media stories say the Pentagon will in all probability retain about 600 troops in Afghanistan to protect the huge US diplomatic compound in Kabul.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki additionally mentioned that the exit of international troops from Bagram didn’t imply that the general withdrawal of international forces could be accomplished inside days.

Foreign troops could be out of Afghanistan “by the end of August”, she mentioned, nearer to the September 11 deadline set by Biden.

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