The Taliban is believed to be responsible for the recent rockets launched at a joint U.S.-Afghan airfield and another U.S. base in Helmand, three U.S. military officials told The New York Times (NYT).
This would be considered a violation of the Doha agreement signed in February between the U.S. and the Taliban. The agreement stipulates that Taliban would refrain from carrying out attacks against U.S. or NATO forces as they withdrew from the country. As a result, the U.S. military would only attack the Taliban to defend Afghan forces.
A Taliban commander denied the attack but said they would investigate the claims, since the attacks could have been from a faction that is against the Doha agreement.
The NYT spoke to officials who said that around a dozen rockets struck Camp Bastion, an airbase in Helmand in late July. In the past week, several rockets were also fired at Camp Dwyer, which is 50 miles south of Bastion.
After the attacks on Camp Dwyer, U.S. planes retaliated by hitting the launch site, destroying a cluster of munitions that had yet to be fired, the official told NYT.
The Taliban’s ties with the Al Qaeda in the region is also a sore point for the Doha deal.
General Scott Miller, commander of the U.S.-led mission in Afghanistan, said during an interview with local media, that there was a “debate” on the ties between the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
“There are very strict commitments there, and they must be upheld,” Miller said.
Experts speaking to the NYT said that U.S. military’s silence on Doha deal violations was an effort to uphold the agreement.
The Washington Post also recently reported that the Afghan government was aware that the current U.S. policy was dictated by the Presidential elections timeline and Donald Trump’s campaign to end the war.