Ghani confident US ‘will protect and defend Afghanistan’ 

President Joe Biden has pledged that US will continue to support Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF), said Afghan President Ashraf Ghani as the Taliban continue to make rapid advances across the war-torn country.

“This evening, I spoke with President Biden over a phone call. We discussed the evolving but continuing relationship between the two countries. President Biden reassured me that support for the ANDSF will continue. We have confidence that they will protect & defend Afghanistan,” the Afghan president wrote on his official Twitter handle on Friday.

“We stressed on the importance of the Afghans coming together for peace and security. And reiterated the enduring partnership, continued diplomatic and economic support for the Afghan government, security forces and the importance of preserving the gains of the last twenty years,” President Ghani said in a follow-up tweet.

On Wednesday, the senior US general had said that the Taliban control about half of Afghanistan’s district centres, indicating a rapidly deteriorating security situation.

Insecurity has been growing in Afghanistan in recent weeks, largely spurred by fighting in its provinces as US-led foreign troops complete their withdrawal and the Taliban launch major offensives, taking districts and border crossings.

“Strategic momentum appears to be sort of with the Taliban,” General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters.

Milley said more than 200 of the 419 district centres were under Taliban control. Last month, he had said the Taliban controlled 81 district centres in Afghanistan.

While the militant group had not taken over any provincial capitals, they were putting pressure on the outskirts of half of them, he said.

(With input from Reuters)

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