Govt says US forces spared from attacks, but Afghans paying the price

The deputy spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Sunday that the reason why the US has not suffered casualties among its forces in the past 10 months is because the foreign forces are no longer fighting in Afghanistan.

Reacting to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s earlier statement about the Taliban not targeting American soldiers in Afghanistan in the past year, Meenapal said this was not because of the US-Taliban deal as Pompeo stated but because the US was no longer actively involved in the war on the ground.

Meenapal said the casualties are being sustained by the Afghan security forces and that the Taliban is now at war with the Afghan people and with the country’s own security forces.

On Sunday morning Pompeo put the lack of casualties among US troops down to the Taliban adhering to the Doha deal signed in February.

In a series of tweets Pompeo said: “Our mission in Afghanistan is to eliminate Al-Qaeda and threats to the American homeland. Don’t need 10s of 1,000s of U.S. troops on the ground to do that. We have partners: brave Afghans, NATO forces. We also have the ability to project power from afar”.

He said no US servicemen had been killed in Afghanistan in almost a year, and Afghans are finally discussing peace and reconciliation among themselves.

“Logged a lot of air miles to Qatar and Afghanistan and back for talks,” he said.

Meshrano Jirga head Fazl Hadi Muslimyar meanwhile noted his dismay at the high levels of violence being meted out by insurgents against the Afghan people.

Sarcastically he said: “I want to congratulate the Taliban that no Americans have been killed in the past year, but dozens of Afghan soldiers have been killed.”

The Taliban has not commented on government’s reaction to Pompeo’s remarks.

This comes just two days ahead of the resumption of intra-Afghan peace talks in the Qatari capital, Doha.

It also comes amid a serious spike in targeted attacks and attempted assassinations of public figures including journalists, civil society activists and government employees.

However, no group has yet to take responsibility for all these attacks.

Meanwhile, in response to Pompeo’s comments, the Taliban said in a series of tweets Sunday that no attacks against US forces since the Doha deal shows that the Islamic Emirate is fulfilling its obligations as a committed entity.

The Islamic Emirate wants the hoped for peace agreement to be implemented in the same way, the group tweeted.

“We will fulfill the same obligations when we reach an agreement with the internal” actors, the group stated.