A US military official told Fox News that the US launched two drone strikes against the Taliban in northern Afghanistan. The airstrikes killed an unknown number of Taliban fighters in the Baghlan and Kunduz provinces, according to the official, who was unnamed.
Under the US-Taliban peace deal, the two sides agreed not to attack each other. Since the agreement was signed in February 2020, the US has occasionally admitted to bombing the Taliban and justified by framing the strikes as being in defense of the Afghan government.
For their part, the Taliban has refrained from attacking the US or other foreign troops even after President Biden broke the US-Taliban deal by pushing back the original May 1st withdrawal deadline to September 11th. The Pentagon wants to leave about 650 troops in the country after the rest are pulled out to guard the US embassy and help secure Kabul airport, but the Taliban are warning against a continued US presence.
The US also wants to maintain the ability to bomb Afghanistan from outside the country, what the Pentagon has dubbed “over the horizon capability.” Earlier this month, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the US had already begun launching surveillance and combat flights in Afghanistan from outside the country.
These operations are being launched from either aircraft carriers or US bases in the Gulf region. The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan arrived in the Middle East on Friday. The Ronald Reagan is now the second US aircraft carrier that is in the region to support operations in Afghanistan.