US defence secretary Lloyd Austin.(AP file)
US defence secretary Lloyd Austin.(AP file)

US to Afghanistan: Focus on slowing insurgents’ charge

  • Reuters reported that Afghanistan’s military is overhauling its war strategy against the Taliban to concentrate troops around critical areas such as Kabul and other cities, border crossings and vital infrastructure.
Agencies | , Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska
PUBLISHED ON JUL 26, 2021 03:02 AM IST

US defence secretary Lloyd Austin said on Saturday that the Afghan security forces’ first job was to make sure they slow down the Taliban’s momentum before attempting to retake territory, as Afghanistan plans to consolidate forces around strategically important parts of the country.

Reuters reported that Afghanistan’s military is overhauling its war strategy against the Taliban to concentrate troops around critical areas such as Kabul and other cities, border crossings and vital infrastructure.

“They are consolidating their forces around the key population centres,” Austin told reporters during a visit to Alaska.

“In terms of whether or not it will stop the Taliban, I think the first thing to do is to make sure that they can slow the momentum,” Austin said. The US military is set to end its mission in Afghanistan on August 31 on orders from President Joe Biden.

Austin added that he believed the Afghans had the capability and the capacity to make progress, but “we’ll see what happens”.

Taliban insurgents are gaining control of more and more territory, which the Pentagon estimated on Wednesday now extends to over half of Afghanistan’s district centres.

4 held for rocket attacks

Afghan forces have captured four Taliban fighters including a militant commander for carrying out this week’s rocket attack targeting the presidential palace in Kabul during the Eid prayers. Three rockets landed near the palace on Tuesday as President Ashraf Ghani performed outdoor prayers.

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