While the top US general in Afghanistan has admitted that the war cannot be won militarily, the latest claims of continued bombing by the US raise questions about just what Washington is accomplishing, as the longest war in US History continues…
Just weeks after the United States signed a historic peace deal with the Taliban, the group is now accusing Washington of violating the terms on numerous occasions.
According to a document from the Taliban’s political office, the US Military violated the deal at least 50 times between March 9 and April 10. This includes 33 drone strikes in 19 provinces, nine rocket attacks and eight night raids. The attacks killed at least 35 fighters and 65 civilians.
The timeline of the attacks is both before and after the United Nations called for a global ceasefire in response to the spread of COVID-19. The UN Secretary General called on all parties to “pull back from hostilities, silence the guns, stop the artillery, and end the airstrikes.”
But that was not the case in Afghanistan. Following a weeklong reduction in violence at the end of February, which was a lead-up to the signing of the peace deal, reports claim Taliban fighters have since carried out more than 2,000 attacks, and Afghan and NATO forces have carried out more than 400.
In response to the claims, a spokesperson for US forces in the country said “the United States remains committed to the deal with the Taliban,” and in accordance with the written terms of the agreement, they will continue to support and defend the Afghan Security Forces.
While the US has held on to a clause in the deal that allowed them to continue what they deem counter-terrorism operations, the Taliban has claimed the attacks it carried out were in rural areas, not outlawed by the deal. And it has accused the Afghan government of delaying a crucial prisoner swap.
As one of the first major steps to implement the peace deal, the Taliban agreed to release 1,000 prisoners, and the Afghan government agreed to release 5,000, in multiple phases. The Taliban called for the release of its top commanders first, saying they were needed to identify others.
However, the Afghan government said it would release the top commanders first, but only if they went back to prison after helping to identify members. When 100 Taliban prisoners were released earlier this month, the group argued it had no way to verify who they were, or if the release was legitimate.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the threat it poses to prisoners in close quarters has increased the fear that the deal could fall through, if there is a breakout in prison and a significant number of Taliban fighters die.
The peace deal has also been thrown into chaos by rivaling leaders in the Afghan government, attempting to claim power. In addition threatening to cut more $1 billion dollars in financial aid, as the coronavirus threatens to spread across the country, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed the Trump Administration is also considering a full pull-out of troops if the deal is not secured.
While the top US general in Afghanistan has admitted that the war cannot be won through military fighting, the latest claims of continued bombing by the US raise questions about just what Washington is accomplishing, as the longest war in US History continues.