Taliban, US accuse each other of violating Doha peace deal

Kabul, Jan 4 (efe-epa).- The Taliban and the United States Monday accused each other of breaching the peace agreement signed between them last year in the Qatari capital.

The Taliban said the US forces in the country were carrying out airstrikes in non-combat zones in the insurgent-controlled areas.

The military forces returned the accusation, saying the Taliban was behind the recent waves of target killings of civilians across Afghanistan.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement that if airstrikes and other military operations were not “immediately halted” in Kandahar, its fighter “will be forced to respond seriously and all responsibility shall fall squarely on American shoulders.”

Mujahid said American forces had carried out repeated airstrikes against Taliban fighters in Nangarhar, Helmand, and Kandahar provinces over the past few days

“A new operation has also been launched by Afghan forces in Kandahar province’s Arghandab district which is supported by American air force.”

The Taliban spokesperson alleged that the airstrikes were carried out in non-military zones.

US forces spokesman Colonel Sonny Leggett promptly dismissed the Taliban allegations.

“The Taliban’s accusations (that) the US violated the US-Taliban agreement are false,” Leggett said.

“US forces have been clear and consistent: We will defend Afghan forces against Taliban attacks. We renew our call for all sides to reduce violence.”

The US military spokesperson supported the claim of the Afghan government and blamed the Taliban for the recent waves of target civilian killings in the country.

“The Taliban’s campaign of unclaimed attacks and targeted killings of government officials, civil society leaders and journalists must also cease for peace to succeed.” Leggett said.

It is the first time that the US military has supported the claims of the Afghan government about the targeted murder of civilians.

Unknown gunmen have been targeting members of civil society, rights and peace activists, journalists, and religious leaders for the past few months.

The accusations and counter-accusations came a day before the second round of the intra-Afghan talks will begin in Doha on Tuesday between the government negotiators and Taliban leaders after almost a break of three weeks. EFE-EPA


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