Taliban launches huge Afghan offensive after deadline for United States pullout

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Afghan safety forces fought again a huge Taliban offensive in southern Helmand province within the final 24 hours, officers and residents mentioned on Tuesday, as militants launched assaults across the nation following a missed U.S. deadline to withdraw troops.

Although the United States didn’t meet the May 1 withdrawal deadline agreed in talks with the Taliban final yr, its pull-out has begun, with President Joe Biden saying all troops will out by Sept. 11. Critics of the choice to withdraw say the militants will attempt to sweep again into energy.

“There was a thunderstorm of heavy weapons and blasts in the city and the sound of small arms was like someone was making popcorn,” Mulah Jan, a resident of a suburb of provincial capital Lashkar Gah, advised Reuters.

“I took all my family members to the corner of the room, hearing the heavy blasts and bursts of gunfire as if it was happening behind our walls,” he mentioned. Families that might afford to go away had fled, however he had been unable to go, ready together with his household in concern earlier than the Taliban had been pushed again.

Attaullah Afghan, the top of Helmand’s provincial council, mentioned the Taliban had launched their huge offensive on Monday from a number of instructions, attacking checkpoints across the outskirts of Lashkar Gah, taking up a few of them.

Afghan safety forces had launched air strikes and deployed elite commando forces to the world. The insurgents had been pushed again however combating was persevering with on Tuesday and lots of of households had been displaced, he added.

RESONANCE
A Taliban surge in Helmand would have explicit resonance, because the opium-growing desert province was the place U.S. and British forces suffered the majority of their losses throughout the 20-year battle.

As a part of the pullout, U.S. forces handed over a base in Helmand to Afghan troops two days in the past.

The Afghan defence ministry mentioned that along with Helmand, safety forces have been responding to assaults by the Taliban in no less than six different provinces, together with southeastern Ghazni and southern Kandahar previously 24 hours.

The defence ministry mentioned simply over 100 Taliban fighters had been killed in Helmand. It didn’t present particulars on casualties amongst Afghan safety forces. The Taliban didn’t instantly reply to request for remark.

The May 1 deadline for U.S. troops to tug out was agreed final yr beneath former President Donald Trump. The Taliban rejected Biden’s announcement that troops would keep on previous it however withdraw over the subsequent four-and-a-half months.

The deadline has been met with a surge in violence, with a automotive bomb in Logar province killing virtually 30 folks on Friday night. At least seven Afghan navy personnel had been killed when the Taliban set off explosives smuggled by means of a tunnel they’d dug into a military outpost in southwestern Farah province on Monday.

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