Official: US strike Taliban, in first hit since peace deal

International

U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, left, and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban group’s top political leader shack hands after signing a peace agreement between Taliban and U.S. officials in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. The United States is poised to sign a peace agreement with Taliban militants on Saturday aimed at bringing an end to 18 years of bloodshed in Afghanistan and allowing U.S. troops to return home from America’s longest war. (AP Photo/Hussein Sayed)

The U.S. military says it has conducted an airstrike against Taliban forces in southern Afghanistan, only days after American and Taliban officials signed an ambitious peace deal in the Mideastern state of Qatar.

U.S. military spokesman Col Sonny Leggett said in a tweet Wednesday that it was the first U.S. strike against the militant group in 11 days. He said the attack was to counter a Taliban assault on Afghan government forces in Nahr-e Saraj in the Helmand province.

President Donald Trump confirmed Tuesday that he spoke on the phone to a Taliban leader, making him the first U.S. president believed to have ever spoken directly with the militant group responsible for the deaths of thousands of U.S. troops in nearly 19 years of fighting in Afghanistan.

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