Turkey coup bid won’t affect Afghan mission: Nicholson
KABUL (Pajhwok): The botched coup plot in Turkey would have no impact on the US-led campaign to support Afghanistan in the war against the Taliban, the top American military commander in the country said on Sunday.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Gen. John Nicholson said the NATO mission in Afghanistan included more than 500 Turkish soldiers. But he hailed the professionalism of senior Turkish military officers who supported the government against the coup plotters.
In coming weeks, he hintedat making increasing use of the power President Barack Obama conferred on him to support offensive Afghan operations against the insurgents.Obama's decision could have a game-changing effect on the war, he believed.
The decision meant encouragement for the Afghans to stay on the offense, the general remarked."Armies win on the offense. The ability to help the Afghan security forces when they are on the offense is really where we want to be...”
He indicated greater use of US combat airpower, reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft and resupply planes. It could create enough Afghan offensive momentum to shatter the Taliban's confidence and that could compel them to reconcile with the Afghan government.
Nicholson said they had about 20,000 casualties last year, which others have said included 5,000-plus killed in action and 14,000-plus wounded. He said casualties in 2016 are running about 20 percent higher than last year.
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