Taliban attacks kill 20 Afghan personnel, US strikes for first time since deal

An Afghan security personnel stands guard at the site where a Taliban car bomb detonated at the entrance of a police station in Kabul. (File photo: AFP)

The Taliban killed at least 20 Afghan soldiers and police officers in a string of overnight attacks, government officials told AFP Wednesday, hours after US President Donald Trump said he had a “very good” chat with the insurgents’ political chief.

The United States conducted an airstrike on Wednesday against Taliban fighters in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province, a US forces spokesman said, the first strike since a troop withdrawal agreement was signed between the two sides on Saturday.

The Taliban fighters were “were actively attacking an (Afghan National Security Forces) checkpoint. This was a defensive strike to disrupt the attack,” said Colonel Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for the US Forces in Afghanistan in a tweet.

He said Washington was committed to peace but called on the Taliban to stop “needless attacks” and uphold their commitments, alluding to the deal signed on Saturday in Doha.

The militants have ramped up violence against Afghan security forces in recent days, ending a partial truce put in place during the run-up to a landmark US-Taliban withdrawal deal signed in Doha on Saturday.

“Taliban fighters attacked at least three army outposts in Imam Sahib district of Kunduz last night, killing at least 10 soldiers and four police,” said Safiullah Amiri, a member of the provincial council.

A defense ministry official speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity confirmed the army toll while the provincial police spokesman Hejratullah Akbari confirmed the police fatalities.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 04 March 2020 KSA 11:45 - GMT 08:45
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