US airstrike kills five Taliban fighters

A US airstrike launched to support Afghan security forces killed five Taliban fighters in central Afghanistan on Sunday evening.

That's according to Col. Sonny Leggett, the US military spokesman in Kabul, who said the airstrike in Wardak province was conducted to defend Afghan government troops and targeted Taliban fighters.

He said the action was in accordance with terms of the United States withdrawal agreement struck with the Taliban in February.

"We reject the allegations of violating the agreement and of killing innocent Afghans," Leggett said, without elaborating.

When asked for comment, a Taliban spokesman said that there had been no fighting when the strike took place, and it broke the terms of agreement.

"This attack is a violation of the agreement and we condemn it," spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

Violence has escalated in recent weeks with clashes taking place between the insurgents and government troops across the country, while negotiators from both sides have held talks for a peace deal that could allow Washington to withdraw its remaining forces and end the US' longest war.

The US' special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said earlier this month that he had met with Taliban representatives to agree to a 're-set' of the US-Taliban deal in order to reduce the violence.

The Taliban has so far rejected repeated calls for a ceasefire by foreign powers and the Afghan government.

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