South Asia Strategy in Afghanistan Shows Results, Nicholson Says

02 June, 2018, 00:41 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Seven attackers killed as Afghan forces stave off major terror bid

"These strikes represent one of the largest blows to Taliban leadership in the previous year", U.S. Army Gen. John Nicholson, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and Resolute Support commander, said in the press release.

If confirmed by the Senate, Miller would succeed Gen. John Nicholson, who has held the position since March 2016 and is expected to step down this summer.

At least one police officer was killed and five others injured in an attack on the Afghan Interior Ministry in Kabul on Wednesday, according to police.

He said all three were shot and killed by security forces within minutes of the initial attack, adding that a number of nearby homes were damaged.

Both the Taliban and the Islamic State group have stepped up their attacks on Kabul, making the capital the deadliest place in the country for civilians in recent months.

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Later Wednesday, the American commander of USA and coalition forces in Afghanistan cast doubt the attack was the work of IS, saying instead there are indications the Taliban-allied Haqqani network was behind it.

President Trump doubled the troop presence in Afghanistan to about 15,000 US troops.

Nicholson pointed to unreleased data showing a 30 percent decline in attacks initiated by the insurgents between February and April, compared with the average over the previous five years.

It was not clear if there had been any casualties and no group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

A coordinated assault on the interior ministry building in Afghanistan's capital ended with all 10 attackers killed.

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Nicholson acknowledged much of his data drew upon the Afghan government's estimates, which the USA government has long considered less reliable. "My diplomatic colleagues are the ones that are involved in this, and their ability to be successful depends in part upon the confidentiality of the process".

"I should point out they met in secret". He could not say how many other casualties there were besides the assailants.

As informs television channel Tolo News, after the explosion, armed men opened fire, at the moment, the gunfight between the attackers and security forces continues. Speaking from his office in Kabul, Nicholson said he could not name names because the contacts are being pursued confidentially to improve the chances of advancing toward actual peace talks.

"And this has never happened before in Afghanistan, to my knowledge, over 20 provinces", he said.

Speaking to Pentagon media via teleconference from Kabul, Afghanistan, the commander said the goal of the South Asia strategy is reconciliation, and Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani has called it a game changer.

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