Corona virus suspends US military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq

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WASHINGTON, United States of America (CNN) – The impact of the emerging Corona virus on American military operations in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan, where measures to address its spread have led to major changes in the course of those operations.

On Thursday, US forces in Iraq announced that the US-led training efforts to combat ISIS had been suspended “for 60 days as a precautionary measure due to the global epidemic.”

The United Kingdom, one of the largest contributors to the coalition in Iraq, has said it will return some of its personnel to the United Kingdom due to a temporary pause, after the outbreak of the Corona virus.

Likewise, the US-led international coalition in Afghanistan has implemented a series of restrictions to prevent the spread of the Corona virus, including the temporary suspension of movement of people to Afghanistan and the delay in the return of some service personnel.

Such measures could complicate US plans to cut the level of its forces in Afghanistan to 8,600 personnel, a key aspect of the US agreement with the Taliban that was signed late last month.

“In some cases, these measures will require that some soldiers remain after the scheduled dates of their departure,” General Scott Miller, commander of US and international forces in Afghanistan, said in a statement.

“While the command was developing inspection and testing protocols to reduce the risks to individuals,” US Army Colonel Sony Legate, a spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan, said in a tweet on Twitter on Wednesday, “We are still implementing the plan to reduce the forces to 8,600.” .

The NATO-led operation in Afghanistan has also begun to isolate people who have flu-like symptoms.

“As of March 19, 21 (resolute support) individuals who show flu-like symptoms are in isolation and are receiving medical care,” the statement said, referring to the official name of the NATO-led operation in Afghanistan.

The statement said that due to the lack of testing facilities in Afghanistan, tests are being conducted at a military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, or at other civilian sites.

Additionally, “1,500 multinational service personnel, civilians and contractors who arrived at the theater of operations during the past week live in testing facilities before moving to their service locations,” said General Scott Miller that this was due to “an abundance of caution not because they are sick.”

He also explained that access to the bases was restricted, and that “while efforts to train and advise local Afghan forces continue, there has been a push for meetings via (technical means) rather than personal attendance.”

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