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World US could slow Afghan withdrawal amid Taliban gains

14:01  22 june  2021
14:01  22 june  2021 Source:   bbc.com

‘Betrayed’: The Afghan interpreters abandoned by the US

  ‘Betrayed’: The Afghan interpreters abandoned by the US Hundreds of Afghans who assisted the US military with interpreting have found themselves abandoned.Suddenly, a car pulled over, and one of the occupants started firing at them all with an assault rifle. Ameen says he had only a split second to drag the children to the ground and then run to get a weapon. By the time he returned with a gun, the Taliban had already left and had taken his younger brother with them.

The US military has said it could slow down its withdrawal from Afghanistan in light of recent battlefield victories by the Taliban.

a person in a military uniform: The US hopes to have all of its troops out of Afghanistan by 11 September, 2021 © Getty Images The US hopes to have all of its troops out of Afghanistan by 11 September, 2021

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the deadline for a full withdrawal by 11 September was still in place, but the pace may change.

Pentagon officials said last week that the withdrawal is about half-way done.

Afghanistan has seen increasing violence as the US and Nato prepare to pull out their remaining troops.

Over the last month, the Taliban have intensified their attacks and gained control of more than 30 districts. The hardline Islamist group has also seized large quantities of military equipment, according to local media, and killed, wounded or captured dozens of troops.

Taliban close to taking Afghan province of Uruzgan where Australian troops served

  Taliban close to taking Afghan province of Uruzgan where Australian troops served The Afghan province where Australian forces served for the best part of two decades could be the first to fall back under Taliban control as foreign militaries withdraw from the war-torn country. Fierce fighting between government forces and Taliban insurgents is continuing across Uruzgan Province with both sides claiming to have inflicted heavy casualties against each other.Military and Afghan analysts believe the Taliban now controls five of the six districts in Uruzgan Province, while the provisional capital of Tarin Kot is considered contested.

Afghan government spokespeople have denied that the districts have fallen to the Taliban, saying they were evacuated in a "tactical withdrawal". It is unclear how many Taliban have been killed or wounded.

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The Taliban say they have control of the whole northern province of Kunduz, with only the provincial capital retained by the government.

Police said the group had encircled the strategically important city, also named Kunduz, the Associated Press reported. A long-standing target, it briefly fell to the insurgents in 2015 before being retaken by Nato-backed government forces.

Afghan security forces continue to resist the Taliban push, and recaptured two districts in the north-eastern province of Takhar on Sunday.

Taliban say 'Islamic system' only way to Afghan peace, women's rights

  Taliban say 'Islamic system' only way to Afghan peace, women's rights The Taliban said Sunday they remain committed to peace talks but insisted a "genuine Islamic system" in Afghanistan was the only way to end the war and ensure rights -- including for women. Talks between the militants and the Afghan government have been deadlocked for months and violence has surged across the country since May when the US military began its final withdrawal. Fears are also growing that if the Taliban return to power they will reimpose their harsh version of Islamic law, under which girls were banned from school and women accused of crimes such as adultery were stoned to death in stadiums.

a group of people riding on the back of a truck: Afghan security forces pictured in the strategic city of Kunduz © Getty Images Afghan security forces pictured in the strategic city of Kunduz

"The situation in Afghanistan changes as the Taliban continue to conduct these attacks and to raid district centres as well as the violence, which is still too high," the Pentagon spokesman said.


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"If there needs to be changes made to the pace, or to the scope and scale of the retrograde, on any given day or in any given week, we want to maintain the flexibility to do that.

"We're constantly taking a look at this, every single day: what's the situation on the ground, what capabilities do we have, what additional resources do we need to move out of Afghanistan and at what pace.

"All of these decisions are literally being made in real time."

US-led forces ousted the Taliban from power in Afghanistan in October 2001. The Taliban had been harbouring Osama Bin Laden and other al-Qaeda figures linked to the 9/11 attacks in the US.

Taliban Mock Hasty U.S. Withdrawal: ‘Losers Never Look Back’

  Taliban Mock Hasty U.S. Withdrawal: ‘Losers Never Look Back’ KABUL—America’s war in Afghanistan featured all manner of bangs: IED blasts, car bombs, airstrikes, and the “mother of all bombs”—the most powerful non-nuclear ordnance ever used. Its withdrawal from the country, on the other hand, is being conducted with the feeblest of whimpers. For two decades, Bagram Air Force base was the centerpiece of the U.S. mission to clear out the Taliban and support the fledgling Afghan government. At its peak, it housed thousands of coalition troops. Its hangars were flush with the flashiest American aircraft, including F-16 fighter jets, giant C-130 cargo planes, and ferocious MD-530 attack helicopters.

US President Joe Biden says the American pull-out is now justified as US forces have made sure Afghanistan cannot again become a base for foreign jihadists to plot against the West.

A senior United Nations official warned last year that al-Qaeda was still "heavily embedded" within Taliban militants in Afghanistan, however.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani says government forces are now fully capable of keeping insurgents at bay, but many believe the withdrawal could cast Afghanistan back into the grip of the Taliban.

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Mr Biden has pledged that the US will continue to support Afghanistan after pulling troops out, but not "militarily".

a man riding on the back of a truck: Afghanistan's leaders say Afghan security forces are capable of keeping the Taliban's fighters at bay © Getty Images Afghanistan's leaders say Afghan security forces are capable of keeping the Taliban's fighters at bay

Writing in the Washington Post on Tuesday, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan said his country was willing to be a "partner for peace in Afghanistan" with the US, but would not host US bases.

He said Pakistan had previously made mistakes by choosing between warring parties in neighbouring Afghanistan, and pledged to work with anyone who enjoyed the confidence of the Afghan people.

Afghan leaders have long accused Pakistan of supporting the Taliban. The country's co-operation is seen as critical to US withdrawal goals.

Mr Khan said recently that he would "absolutely not" allow the CIA into Pakistan to conduct cross-border counter-terrorism missions against al-Qaeda, the Islamic State group or the Taliban.

Afghanistan: Thousands flee fighting between government, Taliban .
About 5,000 families flee their homes from Kunduz city as Taliban fighters intensify attacks across the country.Heavy fighting has also been reported in the provinces of Kandahar and Baghlan, where the Afghan forces claimed to have retaken areas from Taliban control but the armed group still held on to parts of Pul-e-Khumri area in central Baghlan, according to local media.

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