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US strikes Taliban in first hit since peace deal

US military spokesman Col. Sonny Leggett said the "defensive" attack was to counter a Taliban assault on Afghan government forces in Nahr-e Saraj in the southern Helmand province.

By: AP | Kabul | March 4, 2020 3:06:23 pm
The US hit Taliban fighters with an air strike for the first time in 11 days. (Source: AP/Representational Image)

The US says it has conducted its first airstrike against Taliban forces in Afghanistan, after signing an ambitious peace deal with the militant group days before in the Mideastern state of Qatar.

US military spokesman Col. Sonny Leggett said in a tweet Wednesday that it was the first US attack against the militants in 11 days. He said the “defensive” attack was to counter a Taliban assault on Afghan government forces in Nahr-e Saraj in the southern Helmand province.

Explained: Reading US-Taliban pact

Leggett added that Taliban forces had conducted 43 attacks on Afghan troops on Tuesday in Helmand.

Leggett called on the Taliban to stop the attacks and uphold their commitments based on the agreement signed on February 29 between their leaders and US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Doha, Qatar, which lays out a conditions-based path to the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan.

President Donald Trump confirmed Tuesday that he spoke on the phone to a Taliban leader, making him the first US president believed to have ever spoken directly with the militant group responsible for the deaths of thousands of US troops in nearly 19 years of fighting in Afghanistan.

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