The United States Air Force yesterday bombarded a clan of Taliban fighters attacking Afghan security forces, following an insurgent offensive that sowed doubts over the incipient peace process in Afghanistan.
However, the insurgents resumed Monday the offensive against Afghan security forces – but not against foreign forces – which ended an 11-day partial truce that leaves uncertainty regarding the second phase of the negotiations, which, according to the White House, will begin on March 10.
“We ask the Taliban to stop these attacks and respect their commitments. As we have shown, we will defend our allies when necessary.” says Sonny Leggett.
“The United States carried out a bombing in Nahr-e Saraj, in Helmand, against the Taliban fighters actively attacking Afghan security forces. It was a defensive bombing,” Colonel Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for the US Army in the Middle East, announced on his Twitter account.
“We ask the Taliban to stop these attacks and respect their commitments. As we have shown, we will defend our allies when necessary,” he added in reference to Afghan government troops.
The insurgents killed at least 20 soldiers and police in Afghanistan in a series of attacks in other provinces, government sources in that country told AFP.
Just hours after the bombing of the United States Army, the highest defense authorities in Washington told Congress that the results of the peace agreement have been partial and that the American air strike was triggered by an increase in violence by the Taliban.
“It was a message to the Taliban that the increase in attacks against Afghans in the last two days is unacceptable. The important thing is that it was small attacks” says Mark Esper.
Pentagon minimizes events. Defense Secretary Mark Esper told a US Congress committee that the Taliban are honoring the agreement by not attacking the US and coalition forces, “but not in terms of promoting violence reduction.”
Esper minimized the airstrike and said the attacks took place to send a message to the Taliban that the increase in aggression against Afghans in the last two days is “unacceptable.”
“There have been several attacks in the last 24 or 48 hours and they have been repelled,” he said when asked about the renewed violence in Afghanistan after the truce days.
“The important thing for the agreement is that it was small attacks on the control points,” he said.
Since the US invaded Afghanistan, where it imposed a related government, it has faced the Taliban insurgents, who still control a quarter of the country.