March 04, 2020
The attacks have raised questions about the fate of the Taliban's recent peace agreement with the United States
Sonny Legate, a spokesman for the American forces in Afghanistan, confirmed that air strikes were launched against the Taliban in Afghanistan after the movement's attacks against military and Afghan police sites.
The spokesman emphasized the US commitment to the peace process, adding that Washington "has a responsibility to defend its partners in Afghanistan."
USFOR-A Spokesman Col Sonny Leggett
[ltr]The US conducted an airstrike on March 4 against Taliban fighters in Nahr-e Saraj, Helmand, who were actively attacking an #ANDSF checkpoint. This was a defensive strike to disrupt the attack. This was our 1st strike against the Taliban in 11 days.[/ltr]
USFOR-A Spokesman Col Sonny Leggett
[ltr]On March 3rd alone, the Taliban conducted 43 attacks on #ANDSF checkpoints in #Helmand . The Taliban claim to be fighting to free Afg. from int’l forces, the Feb 29 agreement provides a conditions-based path to withdrawal.[/ltr]
2:14 AM - Mar 4, 2020
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The spokesman called on the Taliban to stop launching "unnecessary attacks and fulfill their obligations."
"Taliban fighters attacked at least three army positions in the Imam Sahib area in Kunduz last night and killed 10 soldiers and at least four policemen," said Safiullah Amiri, a member of Kunduz state council.
The rebels also attacked the police in Uruzgan province (center) on Tuesday night, and spokesman for the governor, Zarkai Abadi, confirmed to AFP: "Six policemen were killed and seven were wounded."
The Taliban's attacks have become the subject of questions to the audience about the fate of the peace truce, which was just held with the United States.
US President Donald Trump had called the Taliban leader Mullah Pradar, the militant group announced Tuesday, days after Washington signed a historic agreement with the movement.
Trump, on the other hand, told reporters at the White House, "In fact, I had a very good conversation with the Taliban leader," without mentioning the name of Pradar, who leads the political movement that led the talks before signing the historic agreement.
"The President of the United States ... made a phone call to the distinguished official of the Islamic Emirate, Mullah Pradar Akhund," spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid wrote on Twitter.
The 35-minute call, which the movement said took place around 1440 GMT, the day after the Taliban ended a partial truce, casts doubts about peace talks between Kabul and the rebels, which are set to begin on March 10.
The text of the phone call, issued by the Taliban, reported that Pradar urged Trump to "take firm steps regarding the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan."
Under the terms of the agreement, foreign forces will withdraw from Afghanistan within 14 months, and this remains subject to the Taliban's security guarantees and the rebels ’pledge to hold talks with Kabul.
But disputes arose over the prisoner exchange clause, which raised questions about whether negotiations between Kabul and the Taliban would start.
The agreement includes a commitment to exchange 5,000 Taliban prisoners held by the Afghan government for 1,000 prisoners, something the militants considered a precondition for the talks, but President Ashraf Ghani refused to do so before negotiations began.
Pradar Trump called for "not to allow anyone to take steps that violate the terms of the agreement and thus you are more involved in this long war," according to the Taliban text.
The apparent differences between the Doha agreement and a joint US-Afghan declaration issued in Afghanistan underscore the obstacles facing negotiators.
While the agreement between the United States and the Taliban is bound to release the prisoners, the Kabul document requires the parties to define the "feasibility of releasing" the prisoners.
Since the signing of the agreement, the Taliban have not stopped claiming "victory" over the United States.
The Taliban have launched more than 12 attacks on Afghan army bases since the end of the limited truce, officials announced Tuesday.
The Afghan government last week sent a delegation to Qatar to start "initial contacts" with the rebels, but Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said on Tuesday that they would only meet representatives of Kabul to discuss the release of their captives.