This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
The U.S. military has rejected a claim by the Afghan Taliban that the United States is violating the terms of a peace deal signed by the two sides in late February.
U.S. Forces-Afghanistan “upheld and continues to uphold the military terms of the U.S.-[Taliban] agreement; any assertion otherwise is baseless,” spokesman Colonel Sonny Leggett tweeted on April 5.
Leggett also wrote that the militant group “must reduce violence” and warned that the U.S. military will continue to defend Afghanistan’s security forces if attacked, in line with the terms of the agreement.
In a statement issued earlier in the day, the Taliban accused U.S. and Afghan forces of conducting raids and air strikes against the group in noncombat zones and of launching operations on civilian areas.
It also chastised the Afghan government for delaying the release of thousands of Taliban prisoners as promised in the agreement signed by the United States and the Taliban in the Qatari capital, Doha, on February 29.
The militants claim they have reduced their attacks compared with last year and warned that continued violations would create “an atmosphere of mistrust” that would “damage the agreements” and “increase the level of fighting.”
The Doha deal calls for the Afghan government to release 5,000 detained Taliban fighters as a confidence-building measure ahead of formal peace talks aimed at ending the country’s 18-year conflict.
The Taliban has vowed to release some 1,000 Afghan government troops and civilian workers it is holding.