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US military carries out strikes against Taliban in Afghanistan

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Afghan security forces inspect the site of a U.S. airstrike in Kunduz city, north of Kabul, Afghanistan. (File photo)

The US military has carried out two strikes against the Taliban in support of Afghan forces in the Kandahar province, American military officials have said, despite a peace deal between the militant group and Washington.  

The two strikes targeted captured equipment on Thursday night, according to CNN. Several more strikes were reportedly carried out earlier in the week. 

The US has withdrawn most of the troops from Afghanistan, but its military has maintained the ability to conduct missile strikes supporting Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). 

“I can say that in the last several days, we have acted through airstrikes to support the ANDSF, but I won’t get into technical details of those strikes,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in an off-camera press briefing Thursday. 

According to CNN, three of the last four strikes targeted captured equipment, including equipment transferred from the US to ANDSF that was later captured by the Taliban. 
 
The Taliban has been pushing back the Afghan military, and overtaking significant areas of territory as American troops withdraw from the country following a 20 years of war there. 

America’s top military general said on Wednesday the Taliban appear to have "strategic momentum" in their sweeping offensives across Afghanistan, as the militants continue to gain more ground in country.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said that the Taliban controls about 212 of Afghanistan’s 419 district centers, indicating the Taliban's success. 

However, Milley said that the Taliban's victory was far from assured despite the fact that the militants claim to have seized scores of districts and border crossings as well as a string of vital provincial capitals.

The US general said Afghan troops were "consolidating their forces" to protect the major urban centers, as the militants are putting pressure on the outskirts of around half of the country's provincial capitals.

The Kabul government has accused the Taliban of destroying hundreds of government buildings in 29 of the country's 34 provinces. The Taliban have denied accusations of causing extensive destruction.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has also said that a Taliban takeover is "not inevitable." But he warned earlier this month that Afghans must come together against the militants. He also admitted that it was "highly unlikely" that one unified government would end up controlling the entire country.

The Taliban held another round of talks with the Kabul government in the Qatari capital, Doha, over the weekend, amid intensified attacks across Afghanistan.
 


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