The Taliban dismissed Wednesday as "empty talk" a U.S. military announcement it would base hundreds of extra troops close to Afghanistan and they will be ready to deploy to the war zone if needed.
The Islamist insurgency's statement came a day after the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, revealed that about 400 American troops, in addition to the 8,400 in the country, will be placed “over the horizon”, but did not disclose where.
More soldiers deployed
The general also said he is using "almost daily" new military authorities President Barack Obama granted, including airstrikes against the Taliban and other support to Afghan troop to enable them to take the offense.
FILE - U.S. Army General John Nicholson speaks during a change of command ceremony in Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 2, 2016.
Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said that giving greater powers to U.S soldiers and placing a few hundred of them outside Afghan territory will not deter his group's actions. Instead of giving "empty talk” and making "repetitive and futile statements", he added, the Untied States and its allies should end their “occupation” of the country.
“Our struggle against the invaders shall continue until the complete independence of our country and establishment of pathway for an Islamic system. No threat can ever stop our struggle in this path,” Mujahid asserted in a statement sent to media.
FILE - In this May 27, 2016 file photo, a member of a breakaway faction of the Taliban fighters guards a gathering in Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan.
Nicholson explained the deployment of extra troops is part of the U.S. commitment to NATO’s Afghan advise-and-assist mission.He discussed the plan Tuesday at a briefing he gave during Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s visit to Afghanistan.
“American leaders, including the defense secretary, should have learned much from their predecessors. Many plans have been aborted here and many generals and armies handed defeat and disappointment,” said the Taliban spokesman.
Carter’s brief trip to Kabul came only days after NATO allies met in Warsaw, Poland, and promised to keep troop levels stable in Afghanistan to battle a the resilient Taliban.