US strikes Taliban for first time since Eid cease-fire

US strikes Taliban for first time since Eid cease-fire
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U.S. forces in Afghanistan conducted two airstrikes against the Taliban over the last day, a spokesman said Friday — the first U.S. strikes on the insurgents since a cease-fire that marked the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of May.

U.S. Forces Afghanistan spokesman Col. Sonny Leggett tweeted Friday that an overnight strike targeted 25 armed Taliban fighters who were “executing a coordinated attack” on an Afghan forces checkpoint in Farah province in western Afghanistan.

Another strike in the afternoon targeted Taliban fighters attacking an Afghan forces checkpoint in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan, he added.

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“We reiterate: All sides must reduce violence to allow the peace process to take hold,” Leggett tweeted.

The Trump administration signed an agreement with the Taliban in February that has the U.S. military on track to draw down to 8,600 troops by mid-July.

The Taliban has refrained from attacking U.S. forces since the deal’s signing, but has stepped up attacks on Afghan forces in the ensuing months.

U.S. officials have stressed the deal allows the U.S. military to come to the defense of its Afghan partners if attacked by the Taliban.

U.S. Air Forces Central Command has stopped releasing its monthly summaries of the number of airstrikes conducted in Afghanistan because of ongoing talks with Taliban, with the last report coming in February.

The U.S. military has also stopped releasing data on the number of Taliban-initiated attacks.

U.S. Forces Afghanistan last publicized a strike against the Taliban in March, days after the withdrawal agreement was signed.