US, Taliban Agree to Reduce Operations After Increase in Violence

Agreement comes after heavy fighting in Afghanistan's Helmand Province

The US and the Taliban agreed to ‘re-set’ and work towards implementing the Doha peace agreement, according to the US envoy for the Afghan peace process.

“Following several meetings General Miller and I had with the Taliban, we agreed to re-set actions by strictly adhering to implementation of all elements of the US-Taliban Agreement and all commitments made,” US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said, referring to Gen. Scott Miller, the head of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

“This means reduced numbers of operations. At present too many Afghans are dying. With the re-set, we expect that number to drop significantly,” Khalilzad said.

The statement comes after heavy fighting between the Taliban and the US-backed government in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province prompted US airstrikes against the Taliban, a rare action since the peace deal was signed in February.

The fighting in Helmand was based around Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital. The Taliban failed to take the city, and the Afghan government launched counter-attacks against the group along the 601 highway. The clashes displaced thousands, and government officials said at least 70 Taliban fighters were killed.

The US-Taliban peace deal calls for a total withdrawal of US forces by 2021. The withdrawal hinges on a reduction in violence, success of the intra-Afghan talks that are ongoing in Doha, and a guarantee from the Taliban not to allow ISIS and al-Qaeda to gain a foothold in the country.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the assistant news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.