Kabul (Afghanistan) | Jagran News Desk: The changing dynamics in Afghanistan on Friday forced the United States (US) to conduct airstrikes in the country to stop the Taliban advance, confirmed the Pentagon. Though it did not give specific details of the airstrikes, the Pentagon said that the strikes were conducted in support of the Afghan forces.

"Without speaking to specifics, I can say that in the last several days, we have acted through airstrikes to support the ANDSF (Afghan National Defense and Security Forces) but I won't get into tactical details of those strikes," said Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby.

The strikes in Afghanistan comes after the most senior military officer of the US admitted that the Taliban had gained "strategic momentum" in the country. Media reports suggest that nearly 190 districts in Afghanistan have fallen to the Taliban in recent months since the US began withdrawing its troops.

The US aims to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, marking the end of the 20-year-old conflict in the country. The US was supposed to withdraw the troops by May 1 but the deadline was extended after President Joe Biden reviewed the situation in Afghanistan.

Many feel that the withdrawal of the US troops would allow the Taliban to expand its wings. However, the US is unlikely to extend the deadline of withdrawal as it wants "zero troops" in Afghanistan by September.

"This is not conditions-based. The president has judged that a conditions-based approach...is a recipe for staying in Afghanistan forever. He has reached the conclusion that the US will complete its drawdown and will remove its forces from Afghanistan before September 11," The Washington Post quoted a senior administration official as saying.

'Afghan president must go'

Meanwhile, the Taliban has said that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani should be removed from his post "to reach a peace deal" with the local government. Speaking to The Associated Press, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said that the group will lay down their weapons when a negotiated government acceptable to all sides in the conflict is installed in Kabul and Ghani's government is gone.

"I want to make it clear that we do not believe in the monopoly of power because any governments who (sought) to monopolise power in Afghanistan in the past, were not successful governments," Shaheen said. "So we do not want to repeat that same formula".

After the 2019 general elections in Afghanistan, Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah declared themselves president. After a compromise deal, Abdullah is now No 2 in the government and heads the reconciliation council. However, Ghani's rivals, including the Taliban, have accused him of seeking only to keep power.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma