NATO donates military supplies worth millions to Afghanistan on its way out

nato_donates_military_supplies_worth_millions_to_afghanistan_on_its_way_out.jpg / NATO has given supplies worth $72 million so far this year to the Afghan government to help in its fight against the Taliban. An Afghan policeman stands guard inside the Bagram US air base after all US and NATO troops left, some 70 km north of Kabul. (Wakil Kohsar / AFP) NATO is donating millions of dollars' worth of military equipment to Afghanistan as its forces leave the country.

“As we withdraw our forces from the country, we will continue to support Afghanistan, including with equipment to help the Afghan forces better provide for their own security,” NATO spokesman Dylan White said in a statement on Tuesday.

So far this year, NATO said, it has given supplies worth $72 million (62 million euros) to the Afghan government to help in its fight against the Taliban.

The armed group has seized many rural regions since US-led forces started pulling out in May.

The equipment includes specialist bomb-defusing devices, body armour, combat simulators, firefighting trucks and medical supplies that will go to “treat wounded soldiers on the battlefield,” the alliance said.

The announcement came as the 200,000 residents of Lashkar Gah, the main city in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province, were being urged to evacuate under a withering Taliban offensive.

At least 40 civilians have been killed there since the weekend, according to the United Nations.

'Lion's share of power'

On Tuesday, US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said the Taliban are demanding in US-backed peace talks “the lion’s share of power” in any political settlement.

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“At this point, they are demanding that they take the lion's share of power in the next government given the military situation as they see it,” Khalilzad told the Aspen Security Forum in an online conference.

Khalilzad repeated Washington's call for a negotiated peace accord, saying that the last 40 years of conflict in Afghanistan “has no legitimacy any more”.

“It's just a struggle for a balance of power, dispensation of power between various factions,” he continued.

Fighting continues

US warplanes have stepped up air strikes across the country in recent days to try to slow the Taliban's advances.

But the last of the US forces are set to leave this month, ending America's longest war.

READ MORE:  Afghan army urges civilians to leave Lashkar Gah ahead of Taliban operation

They are withdrawing under orders from US President Joe Biden, who has said his country has done all it can in Afghanistan after invading two decades ago to wipe out Al Qaeda fighters held responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

NATO allies are withdrawing their forces at the same time, although the alliance chief, Jens Stoltenberg, has vowed continued support in terms of financing and training outside of Afghanistan.

Source: AFP

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