US and Pakistan’s top defense officials discussed the ongoing situation in Afghanistan as well as regional security during a phone conversation, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said in a readout.
The phone conversation took place on the eve of the meeting of the extended troika of Russia, China and the United States along with Pakistan on an Afghan settlement.
“Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke by phone with Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa to discuss our mutual goals of security and stability in the region,” Department of Defense Press Secretary John Kirby said in a readout on Monday.
“Secretary Austin and General Bajwa discussed the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, regional security and stability, and the bilateral defense relationship more broadly.”
Earlier, the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) have repelled an attack by the Taliban (a terrorist group, outlawed in Russia) on Pol-e-Khomri, the capital of the northeastern Baghlan province, Defense Ministry spokesman Fawad Aman said on Monday.
The Taliban were reported to have been conducting mortar attacks on Pol-e-Khomri since Sunday night.
“#ANDSF and Public Resistance Forces repulsed Taliban’s attack on Pul-Khomri city, #Baghlan provincial center tonight. About 100 #terrorists were killed and wounded as a result of a reciprocal operation,” Aman tweeted.
Violent clashes and terrorist attacks continue to ravage Afghanistan despite peace talks between the government and the Taliban in the Qatari capital of Doha. The Islamist movement has managed to overrun a significant portion of the country’s rural areas and is now targeting major cities.
Escalating violence in Afghanistan over the past week has left nearly 130 children dead, according to UNICEF, as the Taliban have ramped up an offensive and began capturing provincial capitals.
The United Nations has repeatedly condemned the multiple attacks in Afghanistan, called for an immediate end to fighting in urban areas, and the start of meaningful intra-Afghan peace talks.