The representative of US forces in Afghanistan and the spokesman for the Taliban militant group have engaged in a war of words on Twitter over the rise of violence in Afghanistan. In a veiled accusation against the Taliban, Colonel Sonny Leggett warned that attacks would result in retaliation.
Reducing violence is an absolute necessity—and this is up to the leaders of all military forces—ANDSF, Taliban fighters and, yes, the Coalition. Attacks generate attacks, while restraint produces restraint. All sides must choose restraint to prevent more killing and violence.— USFOR-A Spokesman Col Sonny Leggett (@USFOR_A) May 2, 2020
In another post, in which he tagged Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s spokesman, Colonel Leggett said: "Let’s clarify: The people of Afghanistan want peace the world has asked the Taliban to cease violence and focus on COVID-19. Now is the time to stop the violence".
Mujahid’s response was not long in coming, as the militant group’s spokesman warned US military officials against provocative statements and noted that the Taliban is committed to the agreement that the sides signed on 29 February.
Path to a resolution lies in the implementation of the #Doha agreement.— Zabihullah (..ذبـــــیح الله م ) (@Zabehulah_M33) May 2, 2020
Do not harm the current environment with pointless & provocative statements.
We are committed to our end, honor your own obligations. https://t.co/0NQl19rqSv
Since the signing of the deal to end the 19-year conflict, both sides have been accusing each other of violating the agreement. The Taliban said that US forces had conducted strikes against the group in non-combat zones, a claim that Washington has denied. Meanwhile, Afghan officials have accused the Taliban of kidnapping and killing civilians.
In turn, the militant group has criticised Afghan authorities for delaying the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners, one of the conditions of the peace agreement.
According to Reuters, Taliban militants have carried out more than 4,500 attacks since the signing of the peace deal. Most of these have occurred in the provinces with the highest number of coronavirus infections.
The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 following the 9/11 attacks. The campaign has become the longest war in US history and has cost two trillion dollars as well as claimed the lives of more than 3,500 American and coalition troops.