US could slow Afghanistan withdrawal amid Taliban gains

US could slow Afghanistan withdrawal amid Taliban gains
The US hopes to have all of its troops out of Afghanistan by 11 September, 2021. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: The United States military has said it could slow down its withdrawal from Afghanistan in light of recent battlefield victories by the Taliban.

John Kirby, Pentagon spokesman, said the deadline for a full withdrawal by 11 September was still in place, but the pace may change.

Last week, Pentagon officials said that the withdrawal is about half-way done.

Afghanistan has seen increasing violence as the Nato and US prepare to pull out their remaining troops.

Taliban have intensified their attacks over the last month and gained control of more than 30 districts. According to local media, the hardline Islamist group has also seized large quantities of military equipment and killed, wounded or captured dozens of troops.

Afghan government spokespeople have denied that the districts have fallen to the Taliban, saying they were evacuated in a “tactical withdrawal”. It is not clear how many Taliban have been killed or wounded.

The Taliban say they have control of the whole northern province of Kunduz, with only the provincial capital retained by the government.

Police said the group had encircled the strategically important city, also named Kunduz, the Associated Press reported. A long-standing target, it briefly fell to the insurgents in 2015 before being retaken by Nato-backed government forces.

Security forces of Afghanistan continue to resist the Taliban push, and recaptured two districts in the north-eastern province of Takhar on Sunday.

The Pentagon spokesman said: “The situation in Afghanistan changes as the Taliban continue to conduct these attacks and to raid district centres as well as the violence, which is still too high.”

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