US conducts first airstrikes against Taliban in Afghanistan

Published June 26th, 2016 - 05:00 GMT
Members of Taliban (AFP/file)
Members of Taliban (AFP/file)

The US military has conducted its first airstrikes against Taliban militants in Afghanistan after President Barack Obama gave authorization earlier this month to expand American involvement against the militants.

“There have been operations carried out with these new authorities,” Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said Friday. “It’s fair to say that these strikes did target Taliban positions.”

Cook added that the strikes occurred in southern Afghanistan, but he did not provide additional details.

In early June, Obama decided to expand America's military involvement in Afghanistan with more airstrikes against Taliban militants, giving the US military more authority to support Afghan forces.

The US military spokesman in the Afghan capital Kabul, Brigadier General Charles Cleveland, said American forces "have conducted a limited number of strikes under these new authorities" but that it is "too early to quantify the effects achieved."

On Saturday, the Taliban said it would strongly retaliate for the resumption of US airstrikes and rejected assertions that bombing operations were ever suspended.

The US and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001. The offensive removed Taliban from power, but militancy is still rife across the country.

Afghanistan, parts of which have long been considered a bastion of Taliban, has recently been seeing the emergence and expansion of Daesh. Nangarhar, in particular, is one area where Daesh has visibly gained a foothold.

The CIA also regularly uses drones for airstrikes and missions in Afghanistan as well as Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt near the Afghan border.


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