- US troops are slated to withdraw fully from Afghanistan by August 31.
- Afghanistan has more than 300,000 soldiers and police.
- The US will continue to support Afghan forces by flying airstrikes while its troops withdraw from the region.
United States officials are now bracing for the possibility that Taliban fighters may retake the Afghan capital of Kabul within 90 days, The Washington Post reported.
A June US intelligence assessment said that the Afghan government could fall within six months of the American military departing, according to the Post. As US forces have steadily withdrawn from Afghanistan, the Taliban has continued to seize territory from Afghan forces at an accelerating pace.
The Trump administration had planned for US forces to withdraw from Afghanistan by May 1. However, on July 8, the Biden administration announced that US military activity in Afghanistan would cease on August 31.
The US entered into war in Afghanistan in 2001 following attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.
Army General Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in late July that the Taliban controlled approximately half of the country’s 419 district centers. Since August 6, the Taliban has captured at least eight provincial capitals, Al Jazeera reported, and now controls more than half of the district centers.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said during a press briefing on Monday that the security situation in Afghanistan is “clearly not going in the right direction.” Kirby said that Afghanistan needs to use its advantages, including over 300,000 soldiers and police, to exert its leadership.
“We’re focused on completing the drawdown by the end of the month and by transitioning to a different bilateral relationship with Afghan forces that will be one of support financial and logistical maintenance support from outside the country,” Kirby said.
The US military has carried out multiple airstrikes in recent weeks to destroy military equipment captured from Afghan security forces and target enemy forces. Additionally, it has sent B-52 bombers and Spectre gunship military aircrafts to three Afghan cities — Kandahar, Herat, and Lashkar Gah — in a bid to stop Taliban insurgents, The Times reported.
“We continue to fly airstrikes in support of Afghan forces on the ground, where and when feasible,” Kirby said.
Rights activists and security experts fear the Taliban will reimpose restrictions on women and that terrorist groups could use Afghanistan to plot new attacks abroad, The New York Times reported. Still, many sources told The Times they worry that the withdrawal was too quick and that the rise of radical forces will eventually affect US interests.
Courtesy By INSIDER