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U.S. Forces Target Taliban, Chinese Militants In Afghanistan

A U.S. Marine watches Afghan soldiers during training in Helmand Province.
A U.S. Marine watches Afghan soldiers during training in Helmand Province.

U.S. forces in Afghanistan have recently conducted air strikes against Taliban and Chinese militants in northern Afghanistan, the NATO-led mission said.

James B. Hecker, commander of NATO’s Air Command in Afghanistan, told reporters via satellite on February 7 that U.S. air strikes destroyed Taliban training camps that supported the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM).

The strikes were conducted in Badakhshan, a remote and mountainous province in northeastern Afghanistan along the border with China and Tajikistan.

"ETIM enjoys support from the Taliban in the mountains of Badakhshan, so hitting these Taliban training facilities and squeezing the Taliban's support networks degrades ETIM capabilities," Hecker said.

In a message on Twitter, U.S. Forces Afghanistan said that the February 4 air strikes involved two B-52s.

On February 8, Faqir Mohammad Jowzjani, the police chief of the northern province of Jowzjan, told the AP news agency that an ETIM fighter and three Uzbek militants were killed in the joint U.S. and Afghan air strikes in the province.

ETIM is made up of members of China's Uyghur minority, a Muslim Turkic-speaking people who inhabit the Xinjiang region in China's far west.

The United States and the United Nations have designated ETIM as a terrorist group.

With reporting by AP and Reuters
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