US forces hit Taliban with airstrikes in Helmand province



The Taliban “need to immediately stop their offensive actions in Helmand Province and reduce their violence around the country,” Leggett said in a statement on Twitter, quoting Gen. Scott Miller, the commander of the U.S. Forces in Afghanistan.

Leggett said that U.S. forces have and will continue to provide support in defense of Afghan national security forces under attack by the Taliban.

The announcement of U.S. strikes came after a gunbattle on Monday was reported in and around Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province.

Witnesses reported sporadic shooting in the city and said some residents fled from the districts of Nad Ali and Nawa because of the fighting.

Omer Zwak, spokesperson for the provincial governor in Helmand, said Taliban fighters had started their coordinated attacks in different parts of the province over the past week and that these had intensified over the weekend.

“The Taliban have destroyed several bridges over the main highway, so the highway is closed right now and no one can travel,” said Zwak.

Representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban are holding intra-Afghan negotiations in Qatar, a Gulf country where the Taliban have had a political office for many years. The negotiations are meant to end the country’s decades-long war.

Associated Press writer Rahim Faiez in Kabul, Afghanistan, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.



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