KABUL (Tolo News): Afghan forces need US assistance to successfully counter the Taliban, the chief of all US special operations forces who recently visited the country told US Congress, less than 40 days ahead of the planned May 1 withdrawal under the terms of the Doha agreement.
“The capabilities that the US provides for the Afghans to be able to combat the Taliban and other threats that reside in Afghanistan are critical to their success,” Gen. Richard Clarke, chief of US Special Operations Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee as quoted by US News.
According to Military Times, the US general declined to provide any details of possible options he has outlined to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on how he could provide needed counterterrorism troops or capabilities if special operations forces are not physically in Afghanistan.
Clarke noted that no decision has been made about the withdrawal, adding that “we will always provide options” to deter or defeat al-Qaeda, Daesh or other terrorism threats. The US general recently visited Afghanistan and saw a new commando headquarters his Afghan counterparts had established. Referring to his visit, Gen. Clarke said: “Progress has been made and I found a very capable commander.”
Violence by the Taliban and other insurgent groups like al-Qaeda has remained high in the country despite peace efforts. The Biden administration is still reviewing the 2020 agreement with the Taliban and it is not yet clear whether or for how long NATO troops will stay in the country.
US President Joe Biden said it will be hard to meet the May 1 deadline for getting troops out of Afghanistan for “tactical reasons.” “We will leave–the question is when we leave,” he said. Asked if he envisioned US troops in Afghanistan a year from now, Biden said, “I can’t picture that being the case.”