Dave DeCamp / AntiWar.com
Since the withdrawal, the US has maintained that it has “over the horizon capabilities” to carry out airstrikes in Afghanistan. But even though the Taliban is leading the new Afghan government, the Pentagon has no plans to coordinate with them on potential airstrikes.
“We retain all necessary authorities to execute over-the-horizon counterterrorism operations, and we remain confident in these capabilities moving forward,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told Military Times.
“Without speaking to specific rules of engagement surrounding airstrikes, there is currently no requirement to clear airspace with the Taliban, and we do not expect that any future over the horizon counterterrorism strikes would hinge on such a clearance,” he said.
The US has hinted at further intervention and airstrikes in Afghanistan under the guise of fighting ISIS-K. The Taliban have accepted air support from the US in the past against ISIS-K, but since the withdrawal was completed, the Taliban have said they don’t need foreign help to fight the terrorist group.
The last known US airstrike in Afghanistan took place on August 29th in Kabul, which killed 10 civilians, including seven children. The Pentagon initially claimed the strike targeted ISIS-K, but it was forced to admit that only civilians were killed in the bombing.
Taliban Says They Don’t Want US Help to Fight ISIS-K
Dave DeCamp / AntiWar.co
“We are fully ready to ensure the security of the country on our own,” said Anaamullah Samangani, a member of the Taliban’s cultural commission, according to TOLO News. “We don’t need the US or other countries’ support in this respect.”
Samangani’s comments came after Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said it was “possible” the US could cooperate with the Taliban in the future against Afghanistan’s ISIS affiliate, known as ISIS-K. The US has previously provided air support for the Taliban against ISIS-K.
After the suicide bombing at the Kabul airport, the US carried out two airstrikes in Afghanistan against targets they claimed were ISIS-K, but one of the strikes killed 10 civilians. The US claims the other strike killed “ISIS-K planners,” but no names or any other details have been released.
These airstrikes were launched from outside of Afghanistan, which means they can continue, and Biden has threatened to launch more. But without the cooperation of the Taliban, more airstrikes would violate the sovereignty of the new Afghan government. So further airstrikes are dependant on how the US chooses to engage the Taliban-led government.
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