American forces carried out several airstrikes on the side of Afghan security forces under attack by the Taliban in southern Helmand province, a spokesperson for the U.S. military in Afghanistan said Monday.
Col. Sonny Leggett said the recent Taliban attacks in Helmand are “not consistent” with a U.S.- Taliban deal signed in February and undermine ongoing intra-Afghan peace talks. He said the airstrikes don’t violate the February deal.
The Taliban “need to immediately stop their offensive actions in Helmand Province and reduce their violence around the nation,” Leggett said in an announcement on Twitter, quoting Gen. Scott Miller, the commander of the U.S. Forces in Afghanistan
Leggett said that U.S. forces have and will continue on provide support in defense of Afghan national security forces under attack by the Taliban.
The announcement of U.S. strikes came after a gun battle on Monday was reported in and around Lashkar Gah, the capital of the Helmand province.
Witnesses reported sporadic shooting in the city and said a few residents fled from the districts of Nad Ali and Nawa because of the fighting.
Omer Zwak, spokesperson for the provincial governor in Helmand, said Taliban fighters had begun their coordinated attacks in various parts of the province over the previous week and that these had intensified over the weekend.
“The Taliban have destroyed a few bridges over the main highway, so the highway is closed right now and no one can travel,” said Zwak.
Representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban are holding intra-Afghan arrangements in Qatar, a Gulf country where the Taliban have had a political office for a long time. The negotiations are intended to end the nation’s long term war.
This news is picked up from Global News.