U.S. military perplexed by Taliban living up to letter of agreement

Days after halting all offensive operations to ink a “peace deal,” the U.S. military has launched an air strike against Taliban fighters in Helmand after the jihadist group conducted dozens of attacks against Afghan forces there. 

Resolute Support’s spokesman called for the Taliban to “uphold their commitments” and not increase attacks, even though the U.S.-Taliban agreement signed last weekend does not include such language.

The drone strike hit Taliban fighters in Naha-i-Saraj, a contested district in Helmand province, as they “were actively attacking an ANDSF checkpoint,” Col. Sonny Leggett, the spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and Resolute Support tweeted today.

“This was a defensive strike to disrupt the attack. This was our first strike against the Taliban in 11 days,” Leggett continued. 

During the seven days leading up to the signing of the deal, the Taliban agreed to halting attacks against U.S. forces and a “reduction in violence” with Afghan forces, but refused to conduct a ceasefire. 

The Taliban has been clear that once the seven day “reduction in violence” period ended, it would continue to attack the Afghan military and government.

Suhail Shaheen, the Taliban’s spokesman for the group’s “political office” in Qatar, where the agreement was signed, noted immediately after the signing of the deal that the seven day reduction in violence period had “ended” and the group would resume offensive operations against Afghan forces.

“That [seven day reduction in violence period] was for making the environment conducive to sign the deal,” Shaheen told The Washington Post

Leggett, the U.S. military spokesman, claimed that the Taliban was “committed.”

“Taliban leadership promised the int’l community they would reduce violence and not increase attacks. We call on the Taliban to stop needless attacks and uphold their commitments,” Leggett tweeted.

However, the deal signed by the U.S. and the Taliban made no such stipulations that the Taliban must halt attacks on Afghan forces.

Leggett‘s statement is part of an active disinformation campaign by U.S. officials who seem determined to misrepresent the agreement.

The most egregious statement about the deal was made by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. On Sunday, Pompeo claimed that the Taliban denounced al Qaeda and was committed to “destroy” the group. However, the deal says no such thing. [See FDD’s Long War Journal report: Analysis: Taliban leader declares victory after U.S. agrees to withdrawal deal.]

Instead, the Taliban committed to preventing al Qaeda from attacking the U.S. and its allies. This is the same commitment the Taliban made numerous times prior to Sept. 11, 2001. The Taliban has made similar promises since 9/11, yet it has harbored al Qaeda and other terror groups that have plotted against the U.S. and its allies.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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