Taliban threaten 'serious response' to US airstrikes in Kandahar


KABUL: Airstrikes conducted by US forces in southern Kandahar province have drawn ire of the Taliban who have harshly condemned them as clear violations of the Doha agreement signed last year; however, American troops see them in line with the pact.

The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces have conducted operations against Taliban rebels in a number of districts in Kandahar province, killing at least 30 militants, according to security reports.

According to the Afghan Ministry of Interior, at least 30 Taliban terrorists were killed in the Zheri district of Kandahar province and the Timur region on the outskirts of Kandahar city.

Meanwhile, MoI added that intelligence and defense forces launched an operation in the Zheri district on Tuesday to repel insurgent attacks. “As a result, 12 Taliban terrorists were dead, and six terrorist motorcycles were destroyed.”

“Also, 18 Taliban terrorists were killed in another counterattack by these forces in the Timur area of central Kandahar on Tuesday night,” MoI stated.

Meanwhile, US Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) announced that it had conducted airstrikes in Kandahar over the past two days, all of which were carried out in accordance with the US-Taliban agreement.

“USFOR-A conducted airstrikes within the last 48 hrs targeting Taliban fighters actively attacking and maneuvering on ANDSF positions in Zharay, Spin Boldak, and Kandahar Districts, Kandahar,” the US military said in a tweet.

“Taliban claims otherwise are false. The US continues to defend ANDSF under the US-Taliban agreement,” read their tweets.

The statements came in response to the Taliban’s allegations that US airstrikes in Kandahar were a “clear violation” of the Doha deal, which the US and Taliban concluded in February of last year.

The agreement, however, states that the US will still come to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces’ defense if necessary.

The Taliban, on the other hand, condemned the air raids, saying that if US forces continue to break the deal, the group will retaliate.

According to Mohammad Naeem, a Taliban spokesman, the Taliban would reciprocate, with the repercussions falling on US soldiers.