US steps up airstrikes on Taliban to gain leverage in peace talks - Sputnik repors | Eurasia Diary -

18 August,

US steps up airstrikes on Taliban to gain leverage in peace talks - Sputnik repors

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Washington has stepped up its airstrikes and raids targeting Taliban* leadership and militants in Afghanistan in a bid to obtain leverage in peace talks with the movement, The New York Times newspaper reported, citing unnamed sources from the US Department of Defence.

The New York Times newspaper specified that the number of US attacks on the Taliban had reached the highest level since 2014, with the surge having started in fall.

The Taliban has reportedly complained about the increased number of airstrikes.

The United States dropped over 7,000 bombs, missiles, and other munitions on Afghanistan in 2018 — a dramatic increase compared to 2,365 in 2014, the New York Times said, citing military data. Since September alone, the Pentagon has reportedly carried out over 2,000 airstrikes and artillery strikes in Afghanistan.

The number of joint US-Afghan anti-Taliban raids has more than doubled from September to February, compared to the same period a year ago, according to reports.

The reports come after the representative of the Taliban movement Mullah Abdul Salam Hanafi stated on 6 February that the United States had pledged to withdraw half of US troops, which have been fighting against the Taliban and the Daesh* terror group in Afghanistan since 2001, from the country by the end of April. However, on the same day, a State Department spokesperson denied this, telling Sputnik that Washington and Kabul had not agreed to any timeline for a possible reduction of US troop levels.



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