KABUL, Afghanistan (Feb. 8, 2018) — Airstrikes in northern Afghanistan are targeting Taliban training camps and support networks of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a terrorist organization operating near the border with China and Tajikistan.
U.S. strikes in Badakhshan province destroyed Taliban training camps and other fighting positions. These training camps support terrorist operations inside Afghanistan as well as operations conducted by ETIM in the border region with China and Tajikistan.
The U.S. strikes support Afghanistan in reassuring its neighbors that it is not a safe sanctuary for terrorists who want to carry out cross border operations.
“There will be no safe haven for any terrorist group,” said General John Nicholson, commander, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan. “We continue to strike them wherever we find them. We continue to hunt them across the country.”
ETIM is a terrorist organization with roots in the ethnic Uighur separatist groups in western China. ETIM militants have fought alongside al-Qaida and Taliban forces in Afghanistan, and are responsible for various terrorist acts inside and outside China. In May 2002, two ETIM members were deported to China from Kyrgyzstan for plotting to attack the U.S. Embassy in Kyrgyzstan. They pose a threat to China and enjoy support from the Taliban in Badakhshan and throughout the border region.
Operations in the north by the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces have intensified in recent months against Taliban, IS-K, and other terrorist organizations attempting to secure a foothold in northern Afghanistan. Afghan Commandos, in close coordination with the Afghan National Army 209th Corps, recently defeated the Taliban in their positions north of Kunduz City, securing the provincial capital from insurgent threat. Airfield surveys in Faryab province recently certified those airfields to enable Commando offensive operations against IS-K positions in the surrounding area.
"War is a test of wills,” said Major General James Hecker, deputy commander for USFOR-A air operations, in a press conference Feb. 7. “The Afghan military has resolve and is becoming more capable every day.”
"We are with Afghanistan and we will stay with the Afghan people,” said Nicholson.
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