Pentagon confirms the launch of airstrikes against Taliban in Afghanistan


A US ARMY officer stands near a burning vehicle north of Kandahar, Afghanistan. (photo credit: BOB STRONG / REUTERS)

As US-led foreign soldiers near the end of their withdrawal from Afghanistan, airstrikes have been carried out to support Afghan government forces who have been under attack from the Taliban.

On Thursday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby informed reporters that air attacks had been carried out in support of Afghan security forces in recent days, but he did not elaborate.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the strikes took place on the outskirts of Kandahar on Wednesday night, killing three Taliban members and destroying two vehicles.

"We confirm these airstrikes and we strongly condemn them," he said. "It's a clear attack and a violation of the Doha deal because they can't have operations after May," he said, referring to a deal between the US and the Taliban that allows for the withdrawal of US troops.

"If they conduct any operation then they will be responsible for the consequences."

The time and location of the strikes were not immediately confirmed by a representative for US soldiers in Afghanistan.

All foreign forces were supposed to leave by May if the Taliban met security guarantees, according to the original pullout agreement arranged by the Trump administration and signed in Qatar's capital.

President Joe Biden said in April that US forces will leave by September 11, angering the Taliban, who had hoped to see the pullout completed by May.

Militants have launched major offensives, capturing districts and key border crossings, and encircling or closing in on many provincial capitals, including Kandahar, since Biden's withdrawal decision.

Except for soldiers guarding the US embassy in Kabul and the capital's airport, almost all US troops have left the country.

Peace discussions between the various Afghan factions have taken place in Doha, but progress has been slow.

The Taliban have long held Kandahar province, and fighting has intensified in recent weeks, with the terrorists capturing the main border crossing with Pakistan in the south, at Spin Boldak.

Danish Siddiqui, a Reuters journalist, was murdered last Friday in the area while covering a conflict between Afghan security forces and Taliban insurgents.

Publish : 2021-07-23 19:27:00

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