Asadullah Khalid, the nominee for the Ministry of Defense, said the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) are conducting 96% of their operations independently, referring to concerns about a possible withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.
Khalid said that the Afghan forces receive air support from international forces when they are in need, bud added that “their land operations are conducted independently.”
Khalid said he has three priorities and one of them is improving the security of the country’s highways. He also mentioned that another priority is to reduce the costs of the military without cutting their capability.
The third priority, Khalid said, is to retake areas that have fallen to the Taliban after 2014.
Khalid said the people should not worry about the withdrawal of international troops from the country. “It's also possible that the number of foreign troops might increase in Afghanistan,” he said.
Khalid said the Taliban’s plan to capture Kunduz, Uruzgan, Farah, and Ghazni province has been foiled by Afghan forces.
“Afghan forces have retaken nine districts (from the Taliban) and they have freed 700 Afghan security force members from Taliban prisoners,” Khalid said.
He said the Defense Ministry has planned to create “Ranger” military units in the coming year that would operate under Army corps in various parts of the country in order to reduce pressure on Afghan commandos.
On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that US President Donald Trump is pushing to accelerate withdrawals from Afghanistan, Iran and Somalia by the time he leaves office in January.
Under a draft order circulating at the Pentagon on Monday, the number of US forces in Afghanistan would be halved from the current deployment of 4,500 troops, The New York Times reported, quoting US officials.
The report said that in Iraq, the Pentagon would trim force levels slightly below the 3,000 troops that commanders had previously announced. And in Somalia, virtually all of the more than 700 troops conducting training and counterterrorism missions would leave.
Last month, Trump said in a Twitter post that he wanted all 4,500 US troops in Afghanistan home by Christmas, but top military and national security aides advised against such a precipitous withdrawal.
The president eventually agreed to the smaller drawdown, officials said quoted by The New York Times.