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In the week ending on July 25th, US accelerated its air campaign against the Taliban, as a sort of farewell gift.
The latest one took place on July 25th, against Taliban fighters near Kandahar city.
On the same day, General Kenneth McKenzie, head of the US Army Central Command, said that he could not commit a date to when airstrikes in support of the Afghan Army would stop.
“The United States has increased air strikes in the support of Afghan forces over the last several days, and we are prepared to continue this heightened level of support in the coming weeks if the Taliban continue their attacks,” McKenzie said.
McKenzie acknowledged that there were tough days ahead for the Afghan government, but insisted that the Taliban were nowhere close to victory.
“The Taliban are attempting to create a sense of inevitability about their campaign. They are wrong,” he said.
“Taliban victory is not inevitable.”
McKenzie’s remarks came as Afghan officials in the southern province of Kandahar said fighting in the region had displaced about 22,000 families in July alone.
“They have all moved from the volatile districts of the city to safer areas,” Dost Mohammad Daryab, head of the provincial refugee department, told AFP.
When the US airstrikes struck, fighting was continuing in the outskirts of Kandahar city.
“The negligence of some security forces, especially the police, has made way for the Taliban to come that close,” Lalai Dastageeri, deputy governor of Kandahar province, told AFP.
“We are now trying to organize our security forces.”
The airstrikes come amid a heightened Taliban push to seize territory and a parallel bid to reignite diplomatic moves for a negotiated end to the war.
A Taliban spokesperson on July 23rd condemned US airstrikes in Kandahar and Helmand provinces as “barbaric attacks” that “will have consequences.” The spokesperson said, “The Islamic Emirate condemns these barbaric attacks in the strongest terms.”
McKenzie vowed to support the Afghan Air Force going forward, and said the US Air Force will also retain the ability to “strike into Afghanistan” against two other groups, ISIS and al-Qaeda.
McKenzie said it will be clear in the next “days and weeks” if the Afghan government will be able to defend the country from the Taliban.
He added: “I don’t think it’s going to be an easy path … [but] I do not accept the narrative that there is going to be a civil war of necessity.”
It is yet to be seen if these airstrikes impede the Taliban advance at all.
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