Carter seeks better use of forces in Afghanistan

2016-07-12 16:02
US Secretary of Defence Ash Carter addresses a media conference in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Rahmat Gul, AP)

US Secretary of Defence Ash Carter addresses a media conference in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Rahmat Gul, AP)

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Bagram airfield - US Defence Secretary Ash Carter said on Tuesday that the decision to give US commanders more authority to work with Afghan troops and strike the Taliban will maximise the use and effectiveness of American forces in Afghanistan.

Carter is in Afghanistan to meet US commanders in the wake of a pledge by Nato allies to keep troop levels stable as they battle a resilient Taliban.

Speaking during a media conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Carter also said that progress by the Afghanistan government on economic and anti-corruption reforms "is central" to the continued international support for the country.

Ghani said his government is working to remove corruption and also on the economic reforms.

This is Carter's second stop in a war zone in as many days, part of a week-long trip that has underscored America's growing commitment to two wars that President Barack Obama inherited but has not been able to end.

Carter was scheduled to meet both Ghani and chief executive officer Abdullah Abdullah, as well as his top US commander in Afghanistan, Army General John W Nicholson.

Growing ISIS presence

Carter announced in Iraq on Monday that the US would be sending 560 additional troops there in the coming days and weeks.

Obama announced last week that he would keep 8 400 US troops in Afghanistan after this year, rather than cut their numbers to 5 500 as he once planned. In addition to taking part in the Nato advisory-and-assist mission, the US has special operations forces in the country that conduct counter-terrorism missions.

The planned force levels allow Nato allies to remain in regional hubs around Afghanistan, with Germany in the north, Italy in the west, Turkey in the capital of Kabul and the United States in the east and south.

Earlier plans to consolidate forces in Kabul and Bagram were scrapped amid resurgent Taliban fighting and the growing presence of Islamic State militants, including many that simply switched allegiance from one insurgent group to another.

Read more on:    taliban  |  isis  |  nato  |  barack obama  |  us  |  afghanistan

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