İrem UZUN -TDO- The U.S. military says it has conducted an airstrike against Taliban forces in southern Afghanistan, only days after American and Taliban officials signed an ambitious peace deal in the Mideastern state of Qatar. U.S. military spokesman Col Sonny Leggett said in a tweet Wednesday that it was the first U.S. strike against the militant group in 11 days. He said the attack was to counter a Taliban assault on Afghan government forces in Nahr-e Saraj in the Helmand province.
In a statement on Twitter, Colonel Sonny Leggett said it was a "defensive strike" to disrupt an attack on an Afghan National Security Forces checkpoint. The spokesman added that the U.S. was still "committed to peace" but had a responsibility to defend its Afghan partners. He said Afghans and the U.S. had complied with their side of the agreement, while the Taliban appeared intent on "squandering" the opportunity. On Tuesday alone, he said, the Taliban had launched 43 attacks on checkpoints belonging to Afghan forces in Helmand. "We call on the Taliban to stop needless attacks and uphold their commitments. As we have demonstrated, we will defend our partners when required," he wrote. The Taliban has so far declined to confirm or deny responsibility for any of the attacks.