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Afghanistan’s Army Chief Calls Off India Visit Due to 'Increased Offensive by Taliban'

© AP Photo / Tariq AchakzaiSupporters of the Taliban carry the Taliban's signature white flags in the Afghan-Pakistan border town of Chaman, Pakistan, Wednesday, July 14, 2021
Supporters of the Taliban carry the Taliban's signature white flags in the Afghan-Pakistan border town of Chaman, Pakistan, Wednesday, July 14, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.07.2021
The withdrawal of US-led forces from Afghanistan has fuelled record levels of violence, as fighting rages on between the Afghan government forces and Taliban. A new report by the United Nations (UN) says that civilian casualties in the first six months have increased by 47 percent over last year.
Afghanistan's Army Chief General Wali Mohammad Ahmadzai has called off a scheduled trip to India due to the “increased offensive by the Taliban” in the country, an Afghan Embassy spokesperson told Sputnik on Monday.
The cancellation comes amid increasing territorial gains by the Taliban in the war-ravaged nation, against the backdrop of US-led forces withdrawing troops ahead of the 31 August deadline.
The insurgent group now claims to control around 85 percent of Afghanistan’s territory and 90 percent of its borders, including those with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran.
The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have been soliciting arms and air power support from other countries in a bid to counter the Taliban offensive across the nation.
India, Afghanistan’s largest regional donor, has backed the government of President Ashraf Ghani, and called for “preserving the gains” of the last 20 years.
General Ahmadzai was scheduled to reiterate calls for increased military support from New Delhi during his now cancelled visit, as reported by India Today last week.
India has to date supplied four Russian-made Mi-24 attack helicopters to Kabul, while also helping to train Afghan soldiers. 
However, Delhi has so far shied away from backing Afghanistan in a more vocal manner, amid calls by Kabul to bolster its air power capabilities and send arms and ammunition.
In a recent interview, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to India Farid Mamundzay called for military hardware, intelligence, and logistical support for Afghanistan to combat the Taliban, including a “large percentage of foreign fighters."
When asked if India was planning on ramping up its military supplies to Kabul, India’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that ties between the two nations were “guided by the Strategic Partnership Agreement" signed in October 2011.
“As a contiguous neighbour, India supports the Government and the people of Afghanistan in realising their aspirations for a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future where the interest of all sections of Afghan society including women and minorities are protected,” said the Indian official.
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