Officials said on Tuesday that the Afghan security forces launched a counterattack against Taliban militants in the south, and the fighting carried out a large-scale rebel movement for the third consecutive day, casting a shadow over peace negotiations.
The Taliban’s attack on Helmand Province tested the government’s resolve at the beginning of the talks to end the 19 Years’ War and could complicate President Donald Trump’s election promises last week to bring the remaining U.S. troops away by Christmas. bring home.
This is the first large-scale offensive launched by the Taliban since the Taliban government and the Taliban began talks last month. It is also one of the largest offensives since fighter jets promised a ceasefire as part of the withdrawal agreement reached with Washington in February.
The United States confirmed on Monday that it has launched air strikes against Taliban militants to push back Helmand operations. Since Washington agreed to withdraw troops in February to end the longest war in American history, American air strikes have been relatively rare.
Since Sunday, the insurgents have occupied the military bases in Helmand Province and blocked the provincial capital Rashkar Gah.
The Media Office of the Governor of Helmand Province said Tuesday that Afghan special forces, aided by airstrikes by the Afghan Air Force, regained five checkpoints from Taliban control and killed 23 fighters in the group.
Jets and helicopters continued to circle Lashkar Gah on Monday and Tuesday nights, attacking Taliban positions. The US military did not immediately disclose whether its troops or fighters were involved.
Said Mohamed Amin, head of the Refugee and Repatriation Department, said that about 5,100 families have been displaced by the fighting. He added that there is an urgent need for food and housing.
Trump lags behind the polls before the three-week election and has long promised to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. The Taliban welcomed his tweet last week, saying that the troops should “go home before Christmas.”
However, the evacuation agreement requires combatants to stop attacks on the city before the U.S. forces withdraw. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, stressed in an interview with NPR on Sunday that the withdrawal is based on conditions.
“We re monitoring all of those conditions closely. And we re, we the military, are giving our best military advice on those conditions so that the president can make an informed, deliberate, responsible decision.”
The negotiations between the government and the Qatar Taliban are progressing slowly and are still in the early stages. The two parties said on Monday that their contact group held a meeting.