KABUL (TOLOnews): The Afghan Air Force Special Operations Command and the ground forces of the Afghan National Army (ANA) conducted a military exercise in Kabul to demonstrate their capabilities as the nation celebrates its 101st anniversary of independence.
Meanwhile, the Afghan acting Minister of Defense Assadullah Khalid said that the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANDSF) have the capability to suppress enemies of the country by conducting complex and sophisticated operations even in the most remote regions of the country.
In the exercise, the ANDSF forces displayed their capabilities using modern light and heavy weapons during the exercise.
President Ashraf Ghani in a video message to the ANDSF commended the services of the nation and said that the ANDSF have offered major sacrifices in the fight against terrorism.
President Ashraf Ghani said: “You fight at the front line against terrorism and it is because of your sacrifices that the invaders have been severely defeated each time.”
“It was a demonstration of strength of the Afghan security forces,” said Assadullah Khalid, the acting Minister of Defense.
“We want the people of Afghanistan to know that they got this achievement and we will protect this achievement at any cost,” said Hamdullah Mohib, the National Security Adviser.
“This is something that originated in reality and is demonstrated here,” said Massoud Andarabi, the acting Minister of Interior.
According to the official statistics, there are 350,000 soldiers serving in the ranks of the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANDSF).
The Afghan Air Force (AAF) has 206 military aircraft, including dozens of Blackhawk helicopters.
The US has pledged to deliver 159 Blackhawk helicopters to the Afghan forces until the end of the year.
The military exercise comes amid diplomatic efforts for a political settlement of the conflict in the country.
On Thursday, President Ashraf Ghani in a message to the ANDSF said that “all barriers and excuses have been removed” ahead of the intra-Afghan talks.
He also urged the Taliban to reduce violence and to be a part of the peace process, saying: “Peace with dignity and long-lasting peace will come.”
However, the Afghan government has also stated that it will not continue releasing the rest of the high-value Taliban prisoners—thus opening the way for intra-Afghan talks—until the Taliban release Afghan pilots and commandos.