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US Afghan withdrawal will not be deterred by 'small harassing' Taliban attacks

A full US withdrawal is to be completed by 11 September [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 May, 2021

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The withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan will not be stopped by attacks against US or Afghan bases.

The planned US withdrawal from Afghanistan will not be affected by "small harassing attacks" that took place over the weekend, the Pentagon said on Monday.

"What we've seen are some small harassing attacks over the course of the weekend that have not had any significant impact, certainly not on our people or our resources there and bases,” said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby to reporters.

The "small harassing attacks" were in reference to a number of incidents that occurred over the weekend, including "ineffective indirect fire" at an airfield in Kandahar, which caused no injuries or damage. 

A military outpost in Afghanistan's southwestern Farah province was also attacked by Taliban insurgents, killing at least seven Afghan soldiers. 

No group claimed responsibility for the assault on the Kandahar airfield but a Taliban spokesman did warn the US that they were in breach of the 2020 accord, for not completing their withdrawal by 1 May.

"This in principle opens the way for our mujahideen to take appropriate action against the invading forces," Mohammad Naeem, a Taliban spokesman, told AFP adding that the group was awaiting orders from its leaders for its future course of action.

US Army General Scott Miller, the commander of foreign forces in Afghanistan, on Saturday warned insurgents not to attack foreign troops that remain in the country beyond 1 May, a deadline set by former President Donald Trump. 

The US began the formal withdrawal of its troops on 1 May, which should be completed by 11 September, as ordered by President Joe Biden. 

Read more: As America's 'forever war' ends, Afghanistan's battle is set to continue

Despite repeated attacks by the Taliban on Afghan government forces, President Ashraf Ghani has insisted that they are fully capable of pushing back against the insurgents. He has also suggested that once the US leave Afghanistan, the Taliban will have no reason to fight. 

"Who are you killing? What are you destroying? Your pretext of fighting the foreigners is now over," AFP reported him saying in a speech last week.

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