The Taliban has not launched any attack against US and coalition forces in Afghanistan since the drawdown began, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said.

“There have been no attacks against US and coalition forces since the retrograde began on or about May 1, and that is also consistent for the past year,” Milley said during a joint press conference with Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin here on Thursday.

Meanwhile, he noted that the Taliban continued its attacks against the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), reports Xinhua news agency.

At least 11 Afghan security forces members were killed in militants’ attacks on Wednesday night, authorities confirmed on Thursday.

Both Milley and Austin reaffirmed that US assistance for the ANSF would continue after the withdrawal.

“We hope through our continued support, the Afghan security forces can be effective, but we expect that this will be a challenge for them,” said Austin.

Milley told reporters that the primary objective for the US military in Afghanistan at this point is to complete a safe and coordinated withdrawal no later than September.

According to Milley, a military base in Helmand was closed, and approximately 60 C-17 transport aircraft had departed with various equipment.

“Over 1,300 pieces of equipment have been transferred either to the Defence Logistics Agency for destruction or to the ANSF for their use.”

The top general said the US military would deploy six additional B-52 bombers and 12 F-18 fighters to offer contingency support during the withdrawal.

The military earlier had sent B-52 bombers and extended the deployment of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier to the region to increase force protection.

The White House said last week that elements of an Army Ranger Task Force would also temporarily deploy to Afghanistan.

President Joe Biden in April announced the withdrawal would begin on May 1, the deadline date for a full US withdrawal under an agreement reached between the former Donald Trump administration and the Taliban.

The Taliban had warned of consequences if the Biden administration fails to follow through that deadline.

About 3,500 US forces and 7,000 NATO troops will be withdrawn before September 11, the day which is the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that drew America into the war in Afghanistan.

–IANS

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