Afghanistan: Fighting rages as US forces seek exit by end August

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Jul 03, 2021, 05:27 PM(IST)

Troop withdrawal from Afghanistan (file photo) Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

In last 24 hours, more than 300 Taliban fighters were killed in fighting with government forces, said the Ministry of Defence on Saturday

Officials said that hundreds of Taliban fighters were killed in fighting across several provinces of Afghanistan. This came amid announcement from the US that troop withdrawal would complete by the end of August.

The announcement came after US and NATO troops vacated their main Bagram Air Base. The airbase was from where the coalition forces led operations for two decades against Taliban and Al Quaeda.

In last 24 hours, more than 300 Taliban fighters were killed in fighting with government forces, said the Ministry of Defence on Saturday.

Scores were killed in airstrikes, including a pre-dawn assault on Saturday, in the southern province of Helmand, where the insurgents and government troops have regularly clashed.

There are fears that Afghan forces would find it hard to fight against the Taliban without the air support the US has been providing.

"In recent days, the Afghan air force has intensified its airstrikes against the Taliban hideouts and the insurgents have suffered casualties," Attaullah Afghan, a member of Helmand provincial council, told AFP.

The Taliban rejected the government's claims.

Both sides often exaggerate each other's casualties and their claims are difficult to independently verify.

But since May 1 when the US military began its final withdrawal of about 2,500 troops, the two warring sides have clashed fiercely across the rugged countryside as peace talks between them have faltered.

As a result, the Taliban have seized dozens of districts in blistering assaults targeting government forces. 

The insurgents have encircled almost all major cities across the country, and on Saturday claimed seizing seven more districts in the northeastern province of Badakhshan.

Top US envoy to Kabul, Ross Wilson, lashed out at the insurgents.

"The Taliban is using violent propaganda and hate speech to intimidate, threaten & attack Afghans on social media," Wilson said on Twitter on Saturday.

"Violence and terror cannot create peace." 

The Pentagon pressed on with its withdrawal to end America's longest war.

On Friday, all US and NATO troops left Bagram Air Base, signalling that the military involvement for coalition forces was finally nearing its end.

(With inputs from agencies)

Read in App