- The US carried out multiple airstrikes on the Taliban recently in support of Afghan forces.
- The strikes targeted enemy personnel, as well as captured military equipment.
- The US is withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan, where it has waged war for nearly two decades.
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The US military carried out multiple airstrikes against the Taliban this week, in part to destroy military equipment that they captured from the Afghan security forces.
“In the last several days, we have acted, through airstrikes, to support the ANDSF [Afghan national defense and security forces],” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Thursday, declining to offer specifics, the AP reported.
Over the past month, the US has conducted roughly half a dozen airstrikes across Afghanistan, the majority of them being carried out by drones. Some of the strikes targeted “captured military equipment that the Taliban [were] able to seize from the ANDSF,” Voice of America reported, citing a US defense official.
Three of the last four strikes were actually aimed at destroying military equipment, CNN reported, noting that it was US equipment that had been transferred to the Afghan security forces. The AP reported the equipment included a vehicle and artillery.
In addition to military equipment, the recent airstrikes also targeted enemy forces, according to multiple reports.
News of the strikes comes as the US continues to withdraw from the war in Afghanistan, a war that has lasted nearly two decades, making it America’s longest-running conflict.
US Central Command, which oversees US military operations in the Middle East, announced on Tuesday that the US has “completed more than 95% of the entire withdrawal process.”
As the US withdraws its forces, the Taliban has continued to engage the Afghan forces, which have at times struggled to fend off the insurgents.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said Wednesday that the Taliban currently controls around half of the 419 districts in Afghanistan but none of the 34 provincial capitals, though they are ramping up pressure in these areas.
He acknowledged that the strategic momentum currently appears to be with the Taliban, but he argued that he doesn’t “think the endgame is yet written.”
While the US continues to support the Afghan forces, Milley said that “the future of Afghanistan is squarely in the hands of the Afghan people.”
Milley added that the Afghan forces have the capacity and capability to defend themselves, stressing that “a negative outcome – a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan – is not a foregone conclusion.”
The withdrawal of US forces was negotiated during the Trump administration but upheld by the new Biden administration, which has argued that the US military has accomplished its primary objectives but cannot be responsible for Afghanistan’s security indefinitely.
President Joe Biden said earlier this month that “after 20 years – a trillion dollars spent training and equipping hundreds of thousands of Afghan National Security and Defense Forces, 2,448 Americans killed, 20,722 more wounded, and untold thousands coming home with unseen trauma to their mental health – I will not send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan with no reasonable expectation of achieving a different outcome.”
The US is currently in the process of evacuating Afghans who supported the US war effort, which is expected to officially conclude at the end of August.