U.S. military defends air strikes that Taliban says violate troop pact

KABUL (HRNW) – The U.S. military defended on Sunday its air strikes against Taliban fighters last week, as the insurgent group accused Washington of violating a signed agreement.

The Taliban launched a major offensive in the southern province of Helmand in a bid to take its capital, prompting U.S. air strikes in support of Afghan security forces, which were being overrun.

“American forces have violated the Doha agreement in various forms by carrying out excessive air strikes following the new developments in Helmand,” Taliban spokesman Qari Muhammad Yousuf Ahmadi said in a statement.

The U.S.-Taliban pact, signed in Doha, provides for foreign forces to leave Afghanistan in exchange for security guarantees and a pledge from the insurgents to sit down with the Afghan government to find a peaceful settlement to decades of war.

Col. Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for the U.S. forces, denied that the strikes violated the deal.


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