Pentagon on Wednesday condemned Taliban attack on Kandahar airfield and said "this decision to provoke even more violence remains disruptive."
Taliban targeted Kandahar Airfield on Wednesday and though no casualties were reported, the Pentagon said the attack is a threat to fragile peace discussions in the country, Air Force Magazine reported.
“I can’t deliver a comprehensive analysis of what we believe they were trying to achieve or what message they were trying to send,” US Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said as quoted by Air Force Magazine. “We condemn the attack, and we believe this decision to provoke even more violence remains disruptive.”
“We always have the right of self-defense for our troops, but our focus right now is on supporting a diplomatic process here to try to bring this war to a negotiated end with an enduring peace,” Kirby said.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
Also, the US forces in Afghanistan said the "airfield operations have been transferred" to the Afghan government, but said "there are still US and NATO troops present."
"The rockets landed outside the perimeter and there were no damage and no casualties," US forces said.
Kirby said the US military needs to do a fuller assessment of “what happened and why, before any potential operational decision is made” to respond.
Kandahar has hosted scores of aircraft, including A-10s, E-11s, F-16s, KC-135s, C-130s, and MQ-9s, among others, according to Air Force Magazine report.
Under the US-Taliban peace agreement signed on February 2020, all US forces stationed in Afghanistan must leave the country by May 1.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki, referring to Afghanistan during a press conference on Monday, said that US President Joe Biden “wants to take the time to make the right decision” on Afghanistan.
“It will be tough to meet the May 1st deadline for full withdrawal, for logistical reasons,” Jen Psaki said.
“We are continuing — he’s continuing to consult internally with his national security team and advisers and, of course, also with our partners and allies,” she said.
A week ago, the US special envoy for Afghanistan’s reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad met with senior Taliban leaders including Mullah Baradar, the head of the Taliban’s political office in Doha, to discuss provisions of the US-Taliban peace agreement, including the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, according to the Taliban’s spokesman Mohammad Naeem.
In the meantime, the United States reportedly asked the Taliban to agree to the continued presence of American forces for three or six months in Afghanistan after the May 1 deadline, sources close to the Taliban have said.
According to the sources, the Taliban has so far not made their final decision about the request; however, the group has apparently insisted that first their 7,000 prisoners should be released, and names of Taliban officials should be dropped from the UN blacklist.
This comes as an UN-led conference on Afghanistan is expected to be held in Turkey this month. Sources familiar with the matter have said that two dates – April 12 and 16 – are under discussion by involved parties for the meeting that some have said will continue for 10 days.