Rest of Asia

US launched recent air strikes in Afghanistan: Pentagon

Filed on July 22, 2021

The US withdrawal is set to be finished by August 31.

The United States recently carried out air strikes as it backed the Afghan army's bid to repel a Taleban offensive, the Pentagon said Thursday, with the withdrawal of international forces from the country all but complete.

"In the last several days, we have acted through air strikes to support the ANDSF," said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, referring to Afghan government forces.

"We continue to... conduct airstrikes in support of the ANDSF," he told reporters at a press briefing, adding that head of the US Army Central Command (Centcom), General Kenneth McKenzie, had authorised the strike.

Kirby said he could not provide details on the air strikes, but reiterated Defencse Secretary Lloyd Austin's Wednesday statement that the United States remains "committed to helping the Afghan security forces and the Afghan government going forward."

Also on Wednesday, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, acknowledged the Taleban regime now controls about half of Afghanistan's roughly 400 districts, but added they had taken none of the country's densely populated main cities.

He said the US withdrawal, set to be finished by August 31, is now 95 per cent complete.

The resurgent militants have pressed a sweeping offensive against government forces since May, amid the withdrawal of the American-led foreign forces.

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