Carter pledges support for Afghanistan against DAESH

US Defence Secretary Carter visits Afghanistan due to concern of rising violence, strengthening of DAESH

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

US Defence Secretary Ash Carter speaks during a joint briefing with British Defence Minister Michael Fallon at the Pentagon in Washington,DC on December 11, 2015.

The United States Defence Secretary Ash Carter visited Afghanistan's Acting Defence Minister Masoom Stanekzai on Friday to give the message that the US stands with Afghanistan, as violence in the country rises.

Carter’s one-day unannounced visit to Afghanistan to analyze security situation in the country comes after the reports which indicate that DAESH is growing in eastern part of the country.

“We are with you. We stand with you,” Carter told his counterpart in a joint news conference at Operating Base Fenty in Jalalabad.

Top US commander in Afghanistan, General John Campbell reported that foreign fighters from Syria and Iraq are joining with Afghans that have declared loyalty to DAESH .

“They are trying to create little nests wherever they feel there is an opportunity,” Carter said and added that the US is trying to make sure they don't gain a foothold, especially in the nearby Nangarhar Province.

“We have some information that suggests they seem to find an opportunity here in Nangarhar. That is really good information to have because it will allow us to focus our efforts on what they are doing in Nangarhar and make sure they don’t have a nest here,” he added.

The bulk of the foreign fighters are positioned in eastern part of Afghanistan near the Pakistan border.

Previously, officials had reported that the presence of DAESH has been small, about 1,000 to 3,000 militants.

According to Pentagon reports Taliban has been encouraged by the reduced US military presence in Afghanistan and its attacks increased this year.

600 American troops are positioned at Operation Base Fenty, which is the key US base in Afghanistan, other US bases have been shut down across the country as the number of US and coalition forces decreased in the recent years.

Total number of coalition troops across the country is about 14,000, at least 9,000 of which are American soldiers.

The US President Barack Obama announced that US will keep soldiers in Afghanistan until 2016, but will reduce the number of troops to 5,500 in Kabul and Bagram.

General Campbell told reporters that US will continue to train Afghan troops this winter in a bid to improve their control of checkpoints and how to build and maintain their forces.

An Afghan senior defense official said Taliban members are threatened by the DAESH growth in eastern Afghanistan.

TRTWorld and agencies