Afghan lawmakers voice alarm on air force as US withdrawal comes closer

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Jul 24, 2021, 07:58 AM(IST)

US troops in Afghanistan Photograph:( AFP )

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As per a statement by the White House, Biden raised the issue during a phone conversation with his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani

During the virtual talks this week with the US Congress, an Afghan delegation said that it appealed for a quick action on aircraft maintenance and munitions supplies as President Joe Biden prepares to end America's longest-ever war by the end of next month.

As per a statement by the White House, Biden raised the issue during a phone conversation with his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani.

The US president affirmed his country's continued military support of Kabul, with spending for Afghanistan prioritised in the 2022 defence budget, currently under negotiation in Congress.

"The security situation is really getting terrible," said senior Afghan MP Haji Ajmal Rahmani, referring to a Taliban offensive during the virtual talks.

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Rahmani further said that one-third of the 150-strong fleet has already been grounded due to maintenance issues.

He further said that the Afghans had also run out of laser-guided munitions, as the United States and NATO allies had handled 80 to 90 per cent of the armaments and did not leave a supply during hasty pullouts of air assets.

"The feedback was that it will take some more time because they have to make the orders and it will take time to produce and ship to Afghanistan," he told a roundtable of the State Department Correspondents' Association.

He added, "They are talking of around one year, more or less, until it will reach Afghanistan. This is something very much needed at this critical time."

Meanwhile, Biden on Friday authorised the use of up to $100 million to address migration emergencies related to the situation in Afghanistan, the White House said.

The statement said the money would come from the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund "for the purpose of meeting unexpected urgent refugee and migration needs, victims of conflict, and other persons at risk as a result of the situation in Afghanistan."

The funds will also support those applying to the State Department program of Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs), under which some 20,000 Afghans who worked as interpreters for the United States during its war in the country and now fear retribution from Taliban insurgents have applied for evacuation.

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