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Pentagon head: US attacks on Taliban positions in Afghanistan intensified on Trump’s order

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Attacks by the US Armed Forces on the position of the radical Taliban movement in Afghanistan intensified on the orders of US President Donald Trump after the Taliban had suspended negotiations with the Washington administration.

This was announced by US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in an interview with reporters. The transcript of his statements was published on Saturday by the Pentagon.

“We intensified our attacks on the Taliban after negotiations broke out,” said the head of the defense department. “President [Trump] really wanted us to respond to the monstrous attacks that the Taliban and others are carrying out throughout Afghanistan.”

He added that the US Armed Forces “substantially strengthened” their operations against the radical movement. The minister refused to give details, indicating only that it was a matter of “air and ground” operations. He also emphasized that the Afghan armed forces are taking part in these operations.

Esper noted that the Pentagon is still considering reducing the contingent of its troops in the Central Asian republic. “My goal is to reduce the number of troops to a level at which we can fulfill the main task,” the minister concluded.

Over the past year, the United States and representatives of the Taliban radical movement held eight rounds of talks that discussed the withdrawal of troops, a ceasefire, the prospect of further intra-Afghan relations and the guarantee that Afghanistan will not become a testing ground for international terrorism.

On August 24, representatives of the parties during the ninth round of negotiations in Doha reached an agreement on the timing of the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.

On September 2, US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and presented him with a draft peace agreement reached between the Taliban and the Washington administration.

Subsequently, Trump said that he canceled the meetings planned for September 8 at Camp David with representatives of the Taliban and Ghana, and also refused to participate in negotiations on a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Afghanistan after the terrorist attack in Kabul, for which supporters of the movement claimed responsibility.

Reuters reported on Friday that a Taliban delegation had met with Khalilzad in Islamabad.

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