Afghan Ministry of Defense (MoD) on Monday welcomed the move by the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to ramp up efforts to target Taliban leaders and commanders in Afghanistan.
The Trump administration is reportedly stepping up its counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan and sending in the CIA to conduct covert operations to hunt and kill Taliban militants in the country, according to a New York Times report.
A senior American official who spoke to the New York Times said that as a signal of accelerating counterterrorism efforts under the US President Donald Trump’s administration, the agency is sending small teams of experienced officers and contractors to work alongside Afghan forces to go after the Taliban.
Afghan defense ministry said in addition to the CIA's new move, they will also increase their operations to eliminate insurgents.
“We carry out more than 30 to 45 airstrikes, 50 to 200 flights every 24 hours. We launch two to five night operations every night and our commando units do up to 30 operations in 24 hours,” defense ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said.
The move by the CIA comes after a increase in airstrikes against insurgent groups by the US. In September alone they dropped 751 bombs on Taliban and Daesh militants.
The top US commander in Afghanistan General John Nicholson meanwhile has said based on the new US strategy for Afghanistan, not only will the pressure be increased on insurgents, but the countries that support them will also come under serious pressure.
“As you heard in that policy announcement by president Trump, the United States, as president Trump said no partnership can survive when one of the partners is sending people to attack the other; and this he was referring to Pakistan. so not only will pressure be applied to the enemy on the battlefield in Afghanistan, but there will also be pressure applied to those who are supporting the enemy from outside the country,” said Nicholson.
Government critics meanwhile said Afghan security forces should not continue to be on the defensive, but should carry out offensive operations to kill Taliban insurgents, and other insurgent groups.
“A defensive position is not good - it gets soldiers killed,” former military officer Mohsin Mukhtar said.
“Pressure should be increased on Pakistan to convince the Taliban to sit at the peace talks table,” head of parliament’s internal security commission Mirdad Nijrabi said.
“Any move taken against insurgents by the Americans, should be done in cooperation with the Afghan government,” MP Sayed Ali Kazimi said.
The CIA's move comes on the heels of a spate of deadly attacks around the country, especially in the cities, which have killed over 200 civilians and military personnel.