Pentagon says ‘small harassing assaults’ by Taliban won’t have an effect on September 11 pullout deadline set by President Joe Biden.
A United States Pentagon official says “small harassing assaults” by the Taliban in Afghanistan haven’t had a major impression 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 assaults over the course of the weekend that haven’t had any important impression, actually not on our individuals or our sources there and bases,” Kirby advised reporters on Monday.
“We’ve seen nothing to date that has affected the drawdown, or had any important impression on the mission at hand in Afghanistan,” he mentioned.
President Joe Biden introduced on April 13 that each one US troops – which on the time numbered as many as 3,500 – will depart Afghanistan by September 11.
Officers quickly after introduced that the roughly 7,000 troops within the nation as a part of a NATO coalition would additionally depart.
Biden has mentioned the US withdrawal wouldn’t be “conditions-based”, which means the pullout is supposed to proceed no matter developments on the bottom.
In current weeks, the Taliban has stepped up its assaults in opposition to the US-backed Afghan authorities, elevating the prospect of assaults on US forces.
In the meantime, 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 line with the United Nations.
Kirby mentioned the US army will preserve its potential to answer assaults all through the pullout, telling reporters that Basic Austin Miller, the US commander in Afghanistan, “actually has at his disposal response choices to make it possible for he’s defending our troops and our individuals”.
One incident, an assault on a army airfield in Kandahar utilized by US forces, was beforehand dismissed by a US spokesman as “ineffective oblique fireplace” that resulted in no accidents.
On Saturday, as its forces started the withdrawal, the US army launched a “precision strike” in opposition to the supply of that fireplace, officers mentioned.
‘All that can be gone’
Combating 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.
Whereas Afghan President Hamid Karzai has mentioned the federal government is “prepared” to proceed the battle following the withdrawal, at the very least one US army official has questioned the flexibility of Afghan forces to carry territory in opposition to the Taliban group, which was faraway from energy after overseas forces invaded almost 20 years in the past however nonetheless controls giant swaths of the nation.
In April, Basic Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, head of Central Command which directs forces in Afghanistan, voiced “concern” about Afghan forces not having boots-on-the-ground help from overseas forces, together with for intelligence, firepower, and plane help.
“All that can be gone,” he advised legislators on the US Senate Committee in April.
On Monday, Kirby additionally famous that the Pentagon was “properly conscious” 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 Protection Lloyd Austin is in talks with different officers “about how we meet our obligations to them.”