US launches air strikes in aid of Afghan forces

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The United States has carried out air strikes to support Afghan government forces who have been under pressure from the Taliban as US-led foreign forces carry out the final stages of their withdrawal from the country.

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Thursday the air strikes were in support of Afghan security forces in recent days but did not provide details.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said the strikes were on Wednesday night on the outskirts of the southern city of Kandahar, killing three of their fighters and destroying two vehicles.
“We confirm these

air strikes and we condemn this in strongest term, it is a clear attack and violation of the Doha deal as they can’t have operations after May,” he said.
, referring to an agreement between the United States and the Taliban clearing the way for the withdrawal of U.S. forces.

“If they conduct any operation then they will be responsible for the consequences.”
Under the original withdrawal deal between the United States and the Taliban, brokered by the Trump administration and signed in Qatar’s capital, all foreign troops were expected to be gone by May if the Taliban met security guarantees.

Meanwhile, Tajikistan on Thursday checked the combat readiness of its armed forces in the biggest such exercise in the country’s history as the Taliban make sweeping gains in neighbouring Afghanistan.

The 230,000 members of the Central Asian country’s security forces were alerted for the test at 4am on the order of President Emomali Rakhmon.

Dushanbe also relocated 20,000 troops to strengthen its force on the border with Afghanistan. The military inspection was the first of its kind in the ex-Soviet country’s 30-year history.

It involved testing of all weapons used by the Tajik army, including ground, aviation and artillery forces.

The operation was broadcast on Tajik state television and ended with a military parade headed by Rakhmon in which he called on Tajiks to be “ready to defend peace and stability” in the region.–Reuters/AFP

 

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