The Pentagon said that the military was ordered to leave after Biden officials warned about ties to Russia

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Eight civilians were killed Monday in “reckless” air strikes by Pakistan’s military in the border regions of Afghanistan, prompting Afghan forces to retaliate against Pakistani military outposts, Taliban officials said.
Pakistan’s Air Force fighter JF-17 fighter jets fly past during the multinational naval exercise ‘AMAN-23’ in the Arabian Sea near Pakistan’s port city of Karachi on February 13, 2023.
Advertising Read moreBorder tensions between the two countries have risen since the Taliban government seized power in 2021, with Islamabad claiming militant groups are carrying out regular attacks from Afghanistan.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Pakistani aircraft “bombed civilian homes” in Khost and Paktika provinces near the border with Pakistan at around 3:00 am (2230 GMT Sunday), adding that all of the dead were women and children.
Afghanistan’s defence ministry said its border forces retaliated in response to the airstrikes, targeting Pakistan’s military points along the disputed border with “heavy weapons”.
“The country’s defense and security forces are ready to respond to any aggressive actions and will defend their territorial integrity at all cost,” spokesman Enayatullah Khwarizmi said on social media platform X.Cross-border skirmishes in the region were reported by both sides into Monday afternoon, the latest in a string of such incidents on the disputed frontier.
The Taliban government “strongly condemns these attacks and calls this reckless action a violation of Afghanistan’s sovereignty”, Mujahid said in his statement.
“Such incidents can have very bad consequences which will be out (of) Pakistan’s control.”
Drones and jetsMalak Noor Khan, a tribal elder in the Sperah district of Khost, said he saw at least four explosives dropped from drones and jets and that multiple homes were destroyed, one with a woman and her children inside.
“When the drone came first, we all, including women and children, left our homes and went into the trees on the mountainside, it was very cold as there was snow on the ground,” he told AFP.
“All those targeted are refugees from Waziristan, they are not militants, they are not terrorists,” he said.
Large numbers of civilians fled Waziristan in 2014 when the Pakistani military launched an operation to wipe out militant bases in the tribal areas, many crossing over the border into Afghanistan.
A local government official in Pakistan’s border regions, who asked not to be named, told AFP residents had been instructed to evacuate the area amid the skirmishes.
“Announcements have been made in mosques to empty some areas in Kurram and North Waziristan as clashes between Pakistan and Afghanistan continue on and off at the border,” he added.
Increasing militancyAreas along the border have long been a stronghold for militant groups such as Pakistan’s home-grown Taliban group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which operates across the porous frontier with Afghanistan.
Analysts say militants in the former tribal areas have become emboldened since the Taliban’s return to power, with TTP waging a growing campaign against security officials.
The Taliban deny harbouring Pakistani militants.
In 2022, Taliban authorities said Pakistani military helicopters carried out strikes along the Afghan side of the border that killed at least 47 people, including 20 children.
Monday’s strikes came after seven Pakistani troops were killed in an attack by an armed group inside Pakistan’s territory on Saturday, for which the country’s President Asif Ali Zardari vowed retaliation.
“Pakistan has decided that whoever will enter our borders, homes or country and commit terror, we will respond to them strongly, regardless of who it is or from which country,” he said while attending the funeral prayers of the soldiers, who included a lieutenant colonel.
A Pakistani military statement said security forces also carried out an operation overnight Sunday in North Waziristan district, which borders Khost and Paktika, killing eight militants accused of being in involved in Saturday’s attack.
The TTP issued an official statement denying that Monday’s strikes targeted the group, saying their members operate from within Pakistan.
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In a stunning move that follows U.S. military cooperation, Niger is terminating its agreement with the United States and directing about 1,000 American military personnel to depart the nation. S. According to the Pentagon on Monday, officials visited the capital city of Niamey last week to “raise a number of concerns” regarding Niger’s increasing ties to Iran and Russia.

The status of forces agreement, a significant agreement that permits U.S. s. troops in Niger. Asserting awareness of this, Biden administration representatives are “seeking clarification through diplomatic channels,” Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh informed reporters.

But just last week, a delegation from Washington that included Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Phee, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Celeste Wallander and U. s. Head of Africa Command Gen. A meeting was held between Michael Langley and representatives of the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP) in Niger.

The U.S. S. delegation was present to voice several concerns regarding dot. We found the route that Niger is taking to be problematic. These were therefore candid and straightforward talks to discuss our concerns and hear theirs face-to-face, according to Singh.

forced to know what the U. S. Officials “expressed concern over Niger’s potential relationships with Russia and Iran,” according to Singh. “.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Biden administration officials expressed concerns about Niger’s potential agreement to allow Iran access to its uranium reserves.

The U.S.’s future. s. Since a military junta took over the country’s government and placed the president under house arrest in late July, the military’s presence in Niger has come under scrutiny.

Although the State Department did not formally label the takeover as a coup until October, it reduced U.S. s. aid in the nation, but permitted humanitarian aid as well. Meanwhile, Washington suspended security measures in Niger, where U.S. s. forces provide significant assistance in the region’s counterterrorism efforts against an Islamist insurgency.

But Niger has seemed to choose Russia as a partner over Western nations, following a recent trend by nations in Africa’s western Sahel region.

As stated by Col., the military spokesman for Niger, “The United States is not authorized to be present on native territory.”. According to The New York Times, Amadou Abdramane stated on national television. Additionally, he claimed that the American troops’ presence “violates all the constitutional and democratic rules, which would require the sovereign people — notably through its elected officials — to be consulted on the installation of a foreign army on its territory.”. “.

This is a significant setback for the U.S. s. initiatives in the Sahel, where six years ago it established a $110 million drone surveillance base in northern Niger.

The stated removal of the U.S. by Niger. s. troop withdrawal from the nation last year is also followed by troops from France.

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