05:56 GMT +321 July 2019
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    In this photograph taken on November 3, 2015, Afghan Taliban fighters listen to Mullah Mohammad Rasool Akhund (unseen), the newly appointed leader of a breakaway faction of the Taliban, at Bakwah in the western province of Farah

    US Must Provide Additional Air Support to Afghan Troops Against Taliban

    © AFP 2019 / JAVED TANVEER
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    The US military should provide additional air support to the Afghan National Army (ANA) to help it effectively defeat the Taliban, US Representatives Dana Rohrabacher and Duncan Hunter said in a letter to US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Rohrabacher and Hunter stressed that Washington should provide the Afghan army with aviation support to conduct reconnaissance, medical evacuations, resupply missions and close air support.

    "With proper leadership and adequate support, the ANA is capable of defeating the Taliban insurgency. Unfortunately, because of the inflexibility of our military leaders, it seems, we are not able to provide them the support they need — especially support to the Afghan Air Force (AAF)," the lawmakers stated on Monday.

    The representatives proposed a $250 million package that would include military aircraft being retired by various countries, procured through private contractors, and following Afghan rules of engagement.

    Rohrabacher and Hunter explained that the Taliban has made advances in Helmand, Kandahar, Kunduz and Uruzgan provinces, the Daesh group has a foothold in the country, and civil casualties are at their highest level in two years.

    Without US support, the representatives noted that Afghanistan could seek support from Russia and other nations to effectively fight the Taliban.

    Last month, US President Barack Obama announced he would leave 8,400 troops in Afghanistan by the end of his term in office instead of his original plan to leave 5,500 soldiers.


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