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There will be no safe haven for terrorists: Nicholson

There will be no safe haven for terrorists: Nicholson

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Feb 14, 2018 - 19:52

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): US and NATOinfo-icon forces top commander in Afghanistaninfo-icon General John Nicholson said on Wednesday that the Talibaninfo-icon could not win, informing the insurgents failed to achieve ‘a single stated battlefield objective’ last year.

Addressing the first-ever conference of senior military leaders from Central and South Asian nations in Kabul, the American general said: “We in the international community are here to support all Afghans. We have the shared interest of preventing Afghanistan from ever again becoming a safe haven for terrorism.”

The high level military gathering was attended by regional military chiefs who vowed cooperation in the fight against terrorism and narcotics trade, according to NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Kabul.

Army chiefs from Pakistaninfo-icon, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, the United States and Afghanistan attended the two-day conference.

They included the chief of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), General Joseph Votel, and Pakistan's chief of army staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Nicholson said due to continued growth of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), the Taliban failed to achieve a single stated battlefield objective last year, according to a statement from the RS mission.

Key themes throughout the conference were Afghan security forces’ enhanced capabilities and their full security responsibility to fight against terrorist organizations within its borders.

“In the face of this increased pressure from the stronger Afghan National Defense and Security Forces and US combat power supporting them,” continued Nicholson, "the Taliban cannot win."

Chiefs of defense also reiterated their commitment to fighting terrorism throughout the region, and discussed ways of working together to counter drug trafficking and other cross-border security concerns.

"There will be no safe haven for any terrorist group," said General Nicholson. "We continue to strike them wherever we find them. We continue to hunt them across the country."

Recent operations by Afghan forces showed successes in rooting out terrorism and preventing terrorists from killing innocent Afghans, he said.

US airstrikes have gone after terrorist support networks and degraded their ability to plan attacks in Afghanistan or across the borders with Afghanistan's neighbors.

Over the winter, Afghan commandos pushed IS-Khorasan seven kilometers from their positions in Mohmand Valley, allowing residents to return to their homes and farms, as well as degrading IS-K's ability to plan high-profile attacks on innocent people such as the recent attacks in Kabul and Jalalabad.

Two suicide bombers were stopped before they managed to carry out deadly car bomb attacks during offensive operations in Helmand province in January.

The Maiwand series of operations in Helmand by ANDSF and supported by US Marine Corps advisors with Task Force Southwest, have denied the enemy safe haven and freedom of movement since 2017.

"The enemy is powerless against us, they can't fight us face to face anymore. They just bury IEDs and commit suicide. They are very limited in their capabilities; they commit suicide because they can't fight anymore," said Major Taj Mohammad Begharaz, the 215th Corps' tactical operations center chief, using an acronym for improvised explosive devices.

nh/ma

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