Fighting between Afghan government forces and the Taliban has left more than 100 insurgents dead in the past 24 hours, the Defense Ministry said on Sunday, as the US military began its withdrawal from Afghanistan.
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Taliban and government forces clashed in several provinces, including in the former insurgent stronghold of Kandahar where the US military carried out a “precision strike” on Saturday as it began the final troop withdrawal.
Fifty-two other Taliban fighters were injured in the clashes, the ministry said in a statement, without specifying the losses suffered by government forces.
The Taliban have not commented on the fighting, but both sides are known to exaggerate the losses inflicted on the other.
Fighting has continued unabated in recent months as peace efforts to end 20 years of conflict have failed.
The US military officially began withdrawing its remaining 2,500 troops from the country on Saturday, as ordered by President Joe Biden last month.
U.S. officials on the ground say the pullout began days before May 1 – a deadline agreed between Washington and the Taliban last year to complete the pullout.
The withdrawal of all American forces will now be completed before the twentieth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The US military said on Saturday it carried out a “precision strike” after one of its bases at Kandahar airfield “was the target of indirect fire” which caused no damage.
The attack, which has not been claimed, came as the Taliban believed that the US military had violated the agreement signed last year by not completing the withdrawal of its troops before May 1.
“This in principle authorizes our mujahedin to take appropriate measures against the invading forces,” Mohammed Naeem, a spokesperson for the Taliban, told AFP.
Since the US Withdrawal Agreement was concluded, the Taliban have not directly attacked foreign troops, but have attacked government forces in the countryside and waged a campaign of terror in urban areas, based on ‘attacks.