Wed, 23 Jun 2021

Washington DC [US], May 7 (ANI): Additional troops and capabilities have been transferred to the region to boost security, which includes six additional B-52 Long Range Strike bombers and a package of 12 fighter bombers, the US Department of Defense said in a statement on Thursday.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin and US Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, held their first joint press conference at the Pentagon. Austin said the military will carry out President Joe Biden's orders to end America's longest war.

"We will continue to support them after we retrograde with, with funding, with over-the-horizon logistics," Austin said. "We will remain partners with the Afghan government, with the Afghan military; and, and certainly we hope, through our continued support, the Afghan security forces can be effective."There are roughly 300,000 members of the Afghan army and Afghan police. "It's not a foregone conclusion, in my professional military estimate, that the Taliban automatically win and Kabul falls and all those kind of dire predictions," Milley said. "There's a significant military capability in the Afghan government. And we have to see how this plays out."Milley said the mission is to conduct, "a responsible coordinated and deliberate retrograde of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, in good order." The retrograde will be synchronized with allies and partners.

"We've been steadily transferring functions and responsibilities to the Afghan security forces for considerable amount of time," he added.

"With respect to the Taliban, there continued to be sustained levels of violent attacks, primarily against the [Afghan National Security Forces]; there have been about 80 to 120 enemy-initiated attacks a day for the past year," he said. There have been no attacks against U.S. and partner forces.

He said the Afghan military and police and the Afghan government are cohesive and effective now. "The president of the United States' intent is to continue to support both the ANSF and the government of Afghanistan," he said. (ANI)

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