US-Forces carry out airstrikes against Taliban in Helmand

US-Forces Afghanistan spokesman Colonel Sonny Leggett confirms American forces have conducted several targeted strikes in Helmand over the past two days to defend Afghan National Defense and Security Forces who have come under attack by the Taliban.

In a series of tweets, he said this was in accordance with the US-Taliban agreement and that USFOR-A has and will continue to provide support in defense of the ANDSF under attack by the Taliban.

US-Forces Afghanistan Commander, General Scott Miller said: “The Taliban need to immediately stop their offensive actions in Helmand Province and reduce their violence around the country. It is not consistent with the US-Taliban agreement and undermines the ongoing Afghan Peace Talks.”

This announcement comes amid intense fighting in the southern province which started on Saturday night when the Taliban launched coordinated attacks on a number of areas.

Since then hundreds of residents, in various districts and in the provincial capital Lashkargah have fled their homes.

Late Monday morning, President Ashraf Ghani assured Helmand’s governor, General Mohammad Yasin Khan, of the full support of the Afghan security forces amid escalating violence in the province.

In a phone conversation with Yasin Khan on Monday, Ghani told the governor he has ordered military institutions to take serious steps to support Helmand.

Yasin Khan said on his Facebook page that “His Excellency the President conveyed his best wishes to the people of Helmand and assured them of the full attention of the Central Government, saying that an attack on Helmand would be very difficult for the enemies of the country.”

Yasin Khan said he briefed Ghani on the security situation and was assured he has government’s full cooperation.

This comes after clashes continued through Sunday night and into Monday morning, while gun battles were reported on the outskirts of Lashkargah.

In social media posts early Monday, the Taliban’s white flags were seen flying above the entrance gate into the city.

Travelers on the Helmand-Kandahar highway also reported heavy clashes along the route. Many motorists posted photographs of vehicles lined up along the route, after the road was closed overnight due to the fighting.

The governor’s spokesman, Omar Zwak on Monday also confirmed an explosion had been reported close to a checkpoint in Lashkargah city, killing a child and wounding at least five others.