Pentagon warns Taliban of ‘responses’ if violence continues
The U.S. military in Afghanistan warned the Taliban against continuing violence and to “return to the political path,” saying further attacks would lead to “responses.”
“If the violence cannot be reduced then yes, there will be responses,” US Forces-Afghanistan spokesperson Colonel Sonny Leggettwrote in a letter to Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid that he posted a copy of to Twitter.
“All sides must also return to the political path. Afghans should sit down now and begin talking about the future of Afghanistan together,” Leggett added.
While violence is down, Leggett said, “we spoke of ALL sides reducing violence by as much as 80% to pave the way for peace talks.”
@Zabehulah_M33 You asked for clarity on Gen Miller’s calls for the Taliban to reduce violence. Let’s clarify: The people of #Afghanistan want #peace. The world has asked the #Taliban to cease violence and focus on #COVID19. Now is the time to stop the violence. @suhailshaheen1 pic.twitter.com/9EUrUh67Bt
— USFOR-A Spokesman Col Sonny Leggett (@USFOR_A) May 2, 2020
Mujahid, in a response on Twitter, accused the U.S. of “provocative statements,” adding “we are committed to our end, honour your own obligations,” according to Reuters. The Taliban have accused the U.S. of failing to hold up its end of the agreement with an agreed-upon prisoner exchange involving 5,000 Taliban and 1,000 members of the Afghan forces.
The Taliban launched a series of attacks over the last week, the first of the holy Islamic month of Ramadan, killing 17 civilians and injuring another 49. Javid Faisal, a spokesman for the Afghan National Security Council, said on Twitter that the majority of the casualties were the result of direct fire or roadside bombs.
In the first seven days of Ramadan, Taliban killed 17 civilians and wounded 49 others across 17 provinces. IEDs and direct fire by Taliban cause the majority of the casualties. pic.twitter.com/bHasAFFSaE
— Javid Faisal (@Javidfaisal) May 3, 2020
On April 28, Gen. Scott Miller, leader of U.S. and NATO troops in the country, also warned against consequences for continued violence.
The Taliban, in a Feb. 29 peace deal, committed to ending attacks on U.S. forces and foreign partners. In exchange, the U.S. and other foreign troops have committed to leaving within 14 months of the deal being signed. American forces also agreed to refrain from offensive attacks on the militant group but left open the possibility of strikes to support Afghan forces.