SOURCE: TOLO NEWS
The Afghan Defense Ministry says that more than 100 militants were killed in fighting between government forces and the Taliban over the past two days. Another 52 Taliban fighters were wounded in the clashes, the ministry said on May 2, without giving details of any casualties suffered by government forces.
The ministry said Taliban and government forces clashed across several provinces, including in the former militant stronghold of Kandahar where the U.S. military carried out a “precision strike” on May 1 as it began a final troop pullout.
The Taliban did not comment on the fighting.
Violence has been on the rise in recent months as negotiations between the two sides aimed at ending the 20-year conflict have festered.
The U.S. military formally began withdrawing its remaining troops from the violence-wracked country on May 1, as ordered by President Joe Biden last month.
On May 2, the U.S. military handed over Camp Antonik in the southern province of Helmand to Afghan forces. Camp Antonik will now be used by Afghan special forces that have been trained by the U.S. military and NATO.
Afghan officials said all foreign troops were being relocated to Bagram, the largest U.S. base in Afghanistan, and from there they would leave to their respective countries.
The U.S. military said it carried out a “precision strike” on May 1 after an airfield in Kandahar where it has a base “received ineffective indirect fire” that caused no damage.
The attack on the Kandahar base, which has not been claimed by any group, came as the Taliban warned that Washington had “violated” a 2020 agreement by not finishing the troop withdrawal by May 1.
That deal — signed in February 2020 under the administration of ex-president Donald Trump — provided for all foreign forces to be withdrawn by May 1, 2021.
Biden announced in April that the last remaining 2,500 American troops would instead be withdrawn by the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. But he said their withdrawal would start on May 1.
Since the U.S. withdrawal deal was struck, the Taliban has not directly engaged foreign troops, attacking government forces instead and waging a terror campaign in urban areas.