The top U.S commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson has used his new authority to “proactively” target Taliban fighters nearly daily in recent weeks.
“Use of force” measures have had an immediate effect on the Afghan security forces fighting the Taliban, Gen Nicholson said.
“We’re using our new authorities so that the Afghans can go on the offensive,” Nicholson said. “So far they have been very successful.” He did not say exactly how many times he’s approved their use.
Nicholson was granted the new authority in mid-June to strike the Taliban before they attack Afghan security forces.
Previously, Afghan security forces had to be under heavy duress and request American air support before U.S aircraft could strike the Taliban.
But the U.S President Barack Obama approved the new measures recently at the request of Nicholson, Defense Secretary Ash Carter and other senior military leaders.
Carter and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani hailed the new powers during a joint news conference in Kabul.
Under his new powers, the general said, he could have struck areas where the Taliban fighters were massing to begin the siege on the city.
At NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland, officials on Saturday committed at least 12,000 troops from the 39 alliance and partner nations to the Resolute Support train-and-advise mission in Afghanistan.
Coalition nations stepped up to commit to continuing the mission after Obama last week pledged to leave 8, through the 400 American troops in Afghanistan end of his presidency, backtracking on his earlier plan to draw down to 5,500 troops.