KABUL (Reuters) - American forces conducted two airstrikes on Taliban fighters to foil the militant group’s plan to launch attacks on Afghan security forces, a U.S. military spokesman said on Friday, in a move that could hurt the peace process.
The airstrikes, conducted in two different provinces, were the first since the start of the Eid ceasefire declared by the Taliban and Afghan forces last month.
Sonny Leggett, a U.S. military spokesman based in Afghanistan, said in a tweet that an airstrike was carried out against 25 armed Taliban fighters executing a coordinated attack on an Afghan force checkpoint in Farah province in the west. He said a second attack was conducted in Kandahar in the south.
He did not give casualty figures, and a Taliban spokesman refused to comment on the airstrikes, which were conducted at a time when the United States is steadily pulling its troops out of Afghanistan.
U.S. President Donald Trump in recent weeks has restated his desire for a full military withdrawal from Afghanistan but has not set a target date, amid speculation he might make ending America’s longest war part of his re-election campaign.
But Afghan security officials and European diplomats said the fighting had yet to ebb despite all parties working towards finding a political settlement to end the Afghan war.
At least 10 Afghan security forces members were killed on Friday morning in an ambush by the Taliban in southern Zabul province, Afghan officials said.
The Taliban has not claimed responsibility for the attack.
Reporting by Hamid Shalizi, Orooj Hakimi, Rupam Jain, Editing by Hugh Lawson