While talking peace, the Taliban in Afghanistan are still attacking American and allied forces. In response to these attacks on Wednesday the U.S. responded with airstrikes against Taliban personnel and assets.
U.S. Forces in Afghanistan Spokesman Col. Sonny Leggett commented, “The U.S. conducted an airstrike Wednesday against Taliban fighters in Nahr-e Saraj, Helmand, who were actively attacking an #ANDSF checkpoint. This was a defensive strike to disrupt the attack. This was our 1st strike against the Taliban in 11 days.”
Colonel Leggett expounded on details in a series of tweets.
“On March 3rd alone, the Taliban conducted 43 attacks on #ANDSF checkpoints in #Helmand. The Taliban claim to be fighting to free Afg. from int’l forces, the Feb 29 agreement provides a conditions-based path to withdrawal…We call on the Taliban to stop needless attacks and uphold their commitments. As we have demonstrated, we will defend our partners when required.”
Leggett added that the U.S. is “committed to peace” but that it has “the responsibility to defend our (Afghan National Defense and Security Forces) partners.”
President Trump spoke to Taliban negotiators by phone on Tuesday. They claim no knowledge or sponsorship of the attacks. While it is possible that rogue elements of Taliban forces are responsible for the attacks, if the Taliban are lying to the president they are playing a dangerous game.
They may be gambling on a bet that the president will not risk an escalation of the conflict after a peace treaty is signed. The Taliban may also think that election year politics would play a part in the president’s reaction to Taliban aggression.
But Donald Trump knows the American people will back military action when U.S. troops are under attack and he has prefaced all his comments on the peace treaty with a qualification that it will only work if the Taliban keep up their end of the bargain.
If these attacks are the way the Taliban keep the bargain, then Donald Trump will make them rue the day they trifled with the commander-in-chief.
This piece originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.
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