Khalid says international forces may continue air support after pullout

Written by The Frontier Post

KABUL (Tolo News): Defense Minister Asadullah Khalid on Tuesday said air support by international troops aiding Afghan forces might continue even after the end of the foreign military presence in Afghanistan if necessary. “The world has a commitment and agreement with us. When needed–if we want and need it–their air force will help us in areas where we need it,” Khalid said.

Khalid, in his first official appearance after several months away, in an address to a graduation ceremony of army special forces assured the Afghan forces that the country will not fall to militants. “This homeland will not fall to the enemy. We have good experience. We will not allow anyone to cause the fall of the army. We–and you–are the protectors of peace,” Khalid said.

He said that Afghan forces have proved they are capable of defending each and every corner of the country. He says Afghan forces are conducting operations independently. Khalid added that the Afghan government has made the utmost effort for peace, but the Taliban has continuously insisted on violence. He says the Taliban has no legitimate reason to continue the violence in the country.

Khalid said he hopes that the Taliban stops the violence and moves toward the peace process. “They should remember Arghandab, Qara Bagh, Laghman, Baghlan, Helmand and other places. They have suffered heavy losses and have been heavily suppressed whenever they have faced commando forces,” said Gen. Haibatullah Alizai, the commander of the special operations corps. His remarks come as violence has remained high in the country in the last few weeks. Parwan, in the center of Afghanistan, has witnessed four security incidents in the last week.

Two security force members have been killed in attacks by unknown armed men in the province and the Taliban set fire to a security outpost in Koh-e-Safi district. Four security force members were killed and wounded in a Taliban attack on an outpost in the Shinwari district. “Two police vehicles were targeted in the Ghorband Ha district. Also, targeted attacks have occurred in the center of Parwan and its outskirts,” said Aminullah Shakoori, head of the Parwan provincial council.

Meanwhile, the Taliban launched attacks in Kunduz, Baghlan, Badakhshan, Helmand, Zabul, Faryab and Helmand provinces last night. However, security agencies said the attacks resulted in no casualties to Afghan forces. “Pressure is brought on one province. The forces focus on that. Then pressure is mounted on another province and the forces focus there. Ultimately, this makes the forces tired,” said Mahdi Rasikh, an MP.

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