KABUL, July 25 (Reuters) – United States will to continue to carry out airstrikes to support Afghan forces facing attack from the insurgent Taliban, a regional U.S. commander said on Sunday as U.S. and other international forces have drawn down troops in Afghanistan.
The Taliban escalated its offensive in recent weeks, taking rural districts and surrounding provincial capitals, after U.S. President Joe Biden said in April U.S. troops would be withdrawn by September, ending a 20-year foreign military presence.
“The United States has increased airstrikes in support of Afghan forces over the last several days and we’re prepared to continue this heightened level of support in the coming weeks if the Taliban continue their attacks,” U.S. Marine General Kenneth McKenzie told a news conference in Kabul.
McKenzie, who leads U.S. Central Command, which controls U.S. forces for a region that includes Afghanistan, declined to say whether U.S. forces would continue airstrikes after the end of their military mission on Aug. 31.
“The government of Afghanistan faces a stern test in the days ahead … The Taliban are attempting to create a sense of inevitability about their campaign,” he said.
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