U.S. jets pounded on a rebel-held stronghold in volatile Helmand on Wednesday, the first airstrike since a peace deal with militants earlier this week
KABUL: The U.S. military in Afghanistan said it has conducted an airstrike against Taliban rebels in southern Afghanistan; only days after American and Taliban officials had signed peace deal in Doha, the capital city of Qatar gulf state.
U.S. military spokesman Col Sonny Leggett said in a tweet Wednesday that the US conducted an airstrike on March 4 against Taliban fighters in Nahr-e Saraj, Helmand province, who were actively attacking an Afghan National Defense Security Forces (ANDSF) checkpoint.
“This was a defensive strike to disrupt the attack. This was our 1st strike against the Taliban in 11 days.”
He furthered; “On March 3rd alone, the Taliban conducted 43 attacks on ANDSF checkpoints in Helmand. The Taliban claim to be fighting to free Afghanistan from international forces, the Feb 29 agreement provides a conditions-based path to withdrawal.”
Taliban leadership promised the int’l community they would reduce violence and not increase attacks, he said, adding, “We call on the Taliban to stop needless attacks and uphold their commitments. As we have demonstrated, we will defend our partners when required.”
To be clear – we are committed to peace, however we have the responsibility to defend our ANDSF partners, the spokesman added. “Afghans & US have complied with our agreements; however, Taliban appear intent on squandering this opp. and ignoring the will of the people for peace.”
It worth mentioning that around 30 members of the Afghan Defense and Security Forces were killed and more than 10 were injured in last night’s Taliban attacks in south and north provinces of the country.
Moreover, President Donald Trump confirmed that he spoke on the phone to a Taliban leader, making him the first U.S. president believed to have ever spoken directly with the militant group responsible for the deaths of thousands of U.S. troops in nearly 19 years of fighting in Afghanistan.