Foreign troops targeted in rocket attack in Kandahar
US Forces Afghanistan hit back at insurgents on Saturday night after foreign forces were targeted in a rocket attack at the Kandahar Airfield.
Afghan Voice Agency (AVA)_According to Colonel Sonny Leggett, USFOR-A spokesman: “US Forces conducted a precision strike this evening, destroying additional rockets aimed at the airfield.”
He said Kandahar Airfield received “ineffective indirect fire this afternoon” but added no injuries to personnel had been reported nor had there been any damage caused to equipment.
He also said US commander General Scot #Miller has been clear about the #Coalition’s_intent to protect the force.
“A return to violence would be one senseless & tragic. But make no mistake, we have the military means to respond forcefully to any type of attacks against the coalition and the military means to support the Afghan security forces. That would be a mistake to move in that direction.”
On Saturday, security was ramped up in cities across Afghanistan, including Kabul, ahead of possible attacks by the Taliban due to the presence of foreign troops in the country after the May 1 withdrawal deadline.
On Saturday morning, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah #Mujahid tweeted that the US troops presence was in violation of the agreement and that the group reserved the right to take action against the “occupying forces”.
“As withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan by agreed upon May 1st deadline has passed, this violation in principle has opened the way for IEA Mujahidin to take every counteraction it deems appropriate against the occupying forces,” Mujahid tweeted.
“The Mujahidin of IEA (Taliban) will now await what decision the leadership of Islamic Emirate takes in light of the sovereignty, values and higher interests of the country, and will then take action accordingly, Allah willing,” he said.
Under the Trump administration’s February 2020 deal with the Taliban, foreign forces were to withdraw from the country by May 1 while the Taliban held off on attacking foreign troops and bases.
But US President Joe #Biden announced last month after reviewing the situation that forces would stay in the country for months beyond May, withdrawing by September 11.
While the Taliban did not attack foreign forces in the year following the signing of the agreement, the group continued to carry out attacks against the Afghan security forces and Afghan civilians.
In recent weeks, more than 100 Afghan security force personnel have been killed. On Friday alone, a massive truck bomb in Logar killed dozens of people.
Washington has however warned that if foreign forces were attacked while carrying out the withdrawal they would defend themselves “with all the tools at our disposal”.
Experts said the Taliban threats should be taken seriously, but a number of factors meant that full-scale attacks against foreign targets could be averted, as the Taliban continued negotiations.
“We can’t rule out attacks,” Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Programme at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington told Reuters.
“That said, the Taliban is less likely to attack foreign forces now that it knows there is a specific date when they will be leaving.”