U.S. Carries Out First Airstrike On Taliban Fighters Since Doha Deal

KABUL (Reuters) — The USA performed an airstrike on Wednesday in opposition to Taliban fighters in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province, a U.S. forces spokesman stated, the primary such assault since a troop withdrawal settlement was signed between the 2 sides on Saturday.

The Taliban fighters had been “had been actively attacking an (Afghan Nationwide Safety Forces) checkpoint. This was a defensive strike to disrupt the assault,” stated Colonel Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for the U.S. Forces in Afghanistan in a tweet.

He stated Washington was dedicated to peace however would defend Afghan forces if wanted.

“Taliban management promised the (worldwide) neighborhood they would cut back violence and never improve assaults. We name on the Taliban to cease useless assaults and uphold their commitments,” he stated.

The airstrike was the primary by america in opposition to the Taliban in 11 days, when a discount in violence settlement had begun between the edges within the lead as much as Saturday’s pact.

Because the signing, the Taliban had selected Monday to renew regular operations in opposition to Afghan forces, although sources have stated they might proceed to carry again on assaults on overseas forces.

The Taliban has to this point declined to verify or deny duty for any of the assaults and didn’t instantly reply to request for touch upon the airstrike.

On Tuesday, there have been a number of assaults in opposition to Afghan officers blamed on the Taliban, together with one at a safety checkpoint close to a copper mine that killed 5 Afghan policemen.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman stated on Wednesday that previously 24 hours there had been clashes between the Taliban and Afghan safety forces in 9 provinces, together with Helmand.

A spokesman for Helmand’s provincial governor stated that the Taliban had attacked a safety checkpoint in Washer district – a distinct district to the one during which the U.S. carried out its airstrike – on Tuesday night, killing two law enforcement officials.

A protection ministry spokesman additionally confirmed an assault in opposition to an Afghan military base within the metropolis of Kunduz and stated there have been seven casualties.

The weekend settlement envisages a full withdrawal of all U.S. and coalition forces inside 14 months, depending on safety ensures by the Taliban, however faces quite a few hurdles as america tries to shepherd the Taliban and Afghan authorities in the direction of talks.

(Reporting by Abdul Qadir Sediqi and Charlotte Greenfield in Kabul; extra reporting by Zainullah Stanekzai in Helmand, Sardar Razmal in Kunduz and Orooj Hakimi in Kabul; modifying by John Stonestreet, William Maclean)

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