By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: The Resolute Support (RS) Commander Gen. Scott Miller on Tuesday held a video conference with senior Afghan National and Defense Security Forces (ANDSF) in which he reaffirmed the Resolute Support’s commitment and support for Afghan security forces, and discussed Taliban violence levels and COVID-19 prevention, the mission said in a statement.
“I reiterate to you and everybody on this particular VTC, our commitment and support. And we know we’ll work through the political difficulties and we’ll be something that the Afghan people can be proud of as well as our own nations,” Miller said.
His meeting comes after the US announced that it will reduce its financial assistance to Afghanistan. Miller stated that Resolute Support remains committed to the Afghan security forces and the Afghan people.
“That is evidenced daily by our military activities, but it’s also evidenced by our commitment from day to day as we work to accomplish all of our objectives,” he said.
He said that the Taliban will get a response if they escalate violence. According to security officials, the Taliban attacks have increased at least 10 provinces in the last five days.
“If the Taliban escalate violence and they have, they know they’ll get a response. For our part, the Taliban explicitly know and agree that we have the right to defend not only ourselves, but our Afghan security force partners. And so if they attack, there will be a response,” Miller said.
On Tuesday, Public Health Minister Ferozuddin Feroz said their estimations show that almost half of the country’s population may become infected with COVID-19.
Miller said all sides need to reduce violence so there is focus on the prevention of the coronavirus.
He added: “[COVID-19 is] something that affects the entire world and it will affect Coalition forces and Afghan security forces as well. The focus on this particular virus has to be on preventing the spread, which is difficult under even normal circumstances, but almost impossible if we have violence. All sides need to reduce violence so that we can stay focused on preventing the spread of this virus among our forces and among the Afghan people.”
Meanwhile the Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced on 19 March that Afghan security forces have switched back to an ‘active defense’ posture against the Taliban as the militant group continues to target government forces across the country, despite a US-Taliban deal signed on 29 February aimed at setting the conditions to end the 18-year-old conflict.
“There has been no reduction in the attacks of the enemy. We have therefore ordered our forces to return to an ‘active defense position’ from defensive position,” said Asadullah Khalid, Afghanistan’s acting defense minister. “From now on we should think on attacking the nests and hideouts of the enemies, taking the initiative … and leaving nowhere safe for the enemies to hide,” he added.
The minister’s statements came ahead of an apparent insider attack carried out the following day on a joint police and army outpost near Qalat – the capital of the southern Afghan province of Zabul – that resulted in at least 17 Afghan security forces being killed.