"Far from over": The war continues?
The war against the United States is far from over and will continue on all fronts until they are expelled from the rest of the "Islamic world"Source: Voice of America, Tanjug
That is what two leaders of the terrorist organization Al Qaeda claim for CNN.
The statement came after US President Joe Biden announced the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the assassination of the leader of that organization, Osama bin Laden.
As it is stated, it remains unclear why Al Qaeda decided to announce itself right now on that occasion, through CNN, since it has been published statements through its propaganda papers so far.
A new quarterly U.S. report recorded a staggering 82 percent increase in "insider attacks" on Afghan government security forces in the first quarter of 2021, resulting in 115 killed and 39 wounded members of the armed forces. The Special Inspector General for Reconstruction of Afghanistan (SIGAR) submitted a report to the US Congress on Thursday that the total casualties in the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) are also significantly higher than in the same period last year.
SIGAR is not allowed to include full data on the victims in the ANDSF because the American forces in Afghanistan keep them confidential at the request of the Afghan government.
The report states that ANDSF suffered a total of 31 insider attacks from January 1 to April 1, and the number of victims they caused is more than double compared to the same period in 2020.
Taliban insurgents posing as Afghan police or members of the military are behind most of these insider attacks.
SIGAR has submitted its quarterly report as 2.500 U.S. troops prepare to commence with withdrawals from Afghanistan beginning Saturday. The military withdrawal should be completed by September 11, and the intention is to end the longest American war.
Nearly 17.000 members of the US Secretariat of Defense contractors who support the Agency's operations in Afghanistan will also move out of the country together with US troops. That includes 6.147 U.S. citizens, 6.399 third-country nationals and 4.286 Afghan nationals, according to SIGAR.
The agency noted that it was unclear who, if anyone, would replace the contracting staff or do their job after their withdrawal.
"Without the continued support of contractors, none of the Afghan Air Force (AAF) aircraft can be maintained as combat-efficient for more than a few months, depending on the stock of equipment in the country, the maintenance capabilities of each aircraft and when contractor support is withdrawn," SIGAR claims, citing U.S. military estimates.
The quarterly report explains that Defense Secretariat contractors provide and maintain ANDSF ground vehicles and train local technicians. Although ANDSF "has dramatically improved its share of the work, it still falls well below the benchmarks for its share of the maintenance orders they - rather than contractors - should execute."
The withdrawal of US and NATO forces stems from a one-year agreement that Washington negotiated with the Taliban, raising expectations at a time when it would also encourage rebels and the Afghan government to agree on a political power-sharing agreement to end the war.
But talks between rivals in Afghanistan, which began last September, have failed to deliver the desired outcome, but have largely remained at an impasse, raising fears that the conflict could escalate and cause more bloodshed when all foreign troops leave.
U.S. military commanders have admitted in recent statements that Afghan security forces will "surely collapse" in the face of intensified Taliban attacks if the United States wants to stop any aid. The Afghan war, which began with an international military invasion of the country in October 2001, has reportedly killed about 241.000 people to date.
This includes at least 71.344 civilians; 2.442 members of the U.S. troops, 78.314 members of the Afghan army and police and 84.191 insurgents, a private U.S. study, released earlier this month, states.