Taliban Attacked Afghan Troops, US Airstrikes Ensued
The 7 day window for a reduction in Taliban violence in Afghanistan ended in February. A hopeful peace deal was signed on February 29. When Taliban forces attacked Afghan checkpoints on March 3, the US conducted a “defensive” airstrike. It was the first airstrike in 11 days.
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.
— USFOR-A Spokesman Col Sonny Leggett (@USFOR_A) March 4, 2020
Short peace deal?
Military Times reported,
“The Taliban claim to be fighting to free Afg. from int’l forces, the Feb 29 agreement provides a conditions-based path to withdrawal,” said Leggett.
“To be clear- we are committed to peace, however we have the responsibility to defend our #ANDSF partners. #Afghans & US have complied w/ our agreements; however, Talibs appear intent on squandering this opp. and ignoring the will of the people for #peace. #Showyourcommitment,” Leggett Tweeted.
The “peace agreement” was conditional upon Taliban reducing their violence. It does not appear from our perspective that they intend to comply. As we’ve said before, dealing with rattlesnakes is a good way to get bit.
Terrorists won’t change their spots in a one week window. Not even within a window of several years. Violence is ingrained at this point.
Video [English]: US Gen. Miller in exclusive intw with TOLOnews on Tues. says US will defend Afghan forces, situation is "fragile," reduction of violence is the objective, if Taliban don't live up to obligations US will respond. #Afghanistanhttps://t.co/XKfCLlhhjd pic.twitter.com/HUcTMdF7XC
— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) March 4, 2020
One person commented on the development via Twitter:
“NO human with God given brain except Khalilizad=US Gov give a bunch of barbaric terrorists ONLY 1 week 2 prove they r good people & sign with them an agreement ONLY bcuz they haven’t killed as many as be4 during this ONLY One week. Afg gov should call Khalilzad persona non grata.” @ArmanAmany
March 10 is supposed to be a meeting between the Taliban and the Afghan government – direct talks. But those are in jeopardy because of the Afghans refusing to exchange 5,000 Taliban prisoners as were part of the agreement. Not that the Taliban would ever think of something to use as leverage besides killing.
The Afghans said that 7 of their soldiers were killed in one of the attacks in Kunduz Province, and the Taliban lost 10 in the firefight (Military.com). Other attacks were in Helmand Province.
The peace deal is supposed to help the United States extricate ourselves from the 18 year war. The US is set to reduce our troops to around 8,600 within 135 days from the signing and withdraw totally in 14 months. Maybe. That could be delayed if the Taliban don’t stop being a bunch of …terrorists.
President Trump called Taliban Chief negotiator Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar on Tuesday. It’s the first time a US President has ever directly spoken to the Taliban. He struck a cautious but optimistic tone:
“We had a good conversation. We’ve agreed there’s no violence. We don’t want violence. We’ll see what happens. They’re dealing with Afghanistan, but we’ll see what happens.” President Trump
Indeed, we will see what happens.
Featured photo: US restarted airstrikes against the Taliban – Staff Sgt. Matthew Lotz/Air Force