The United States announced that it has launched a defensive air strike on Taliban in Helmand, Afghanistan today, according to Sky News.
A spokesman for the American forces said that the strike came after Taliban forces attacked a checkpoint in Afghanistan, adding that his country is committed to peace but has also a responsibility to defend its Afghan partners
It is noteworthy that those militants have reportedly killed around 20 Afghan soldiers and policemen in a string of overnight attacks, AFP reported, citing government officials.
The escalation comes just hours after US President Donald Trump said that he had a “good long conversation” with Taliban political chief Mullah Baradar.
American and Afghan officials announced that the United States and its NATO allies will withdraw their forces from Afghanistan within 14 months, if Taliban fulfill their obligations under an agreement signed in the Qatari capital, Doha, on Saturday.
The announcement came in a US-Afghan joint statement issued in Kabul.
US President Donald Trump said it was a “long and arduous journey” in Afghanistan. “After all these years, it is time to bring our soldiers back home,” he added.
How did US-Taliban talks begin?
Since 2011, Qatar has hosted Taliban leaders who have moved there to discuss peace in Afghanistan.
In 2013, a political office affiliated to the militant group was opened in Doha, and then closed the same year, amid disputes over raising the group’s flags.
Qatar also hosted a major conference that presented a road map for peace in Afghanistan. The event brought together officials from the Taliban and Afghan government.
In December 2018, Taliban leaders announced that they would meet US officials to try to find a “roadmap to peace”. But the hard-line Islamist group continued to refuse to hold official talks with the Afghan government, whom they dismissed as American “puppets”.
After nine rounds of talks between the US and Taliban in Qatar, the two sides reached an agreement.