U.S. AIRSTRIKES TARGET TERRORIST NETWORKS IN NORTHERN AFGHANISTAN
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.