Helmand: The US hit Taliban fighters with an airstrike for the first time in 11 days in response to an insurgent attack on Afghan forces in southern Helmand province on Wednesday, days after the Trump administration signed a deal with the military group. Also Read - Had a Good Talk: Trump Becomes First US President to Officially Talk With Taliban Leader

“The US conducted an airstrike on March 4 against Taliban fighters in Nahr-e Saraj, Helmand, who were actively attacking an #ANDSF checkpoint. This was a defensive strike to disrupt the attack,” US Forces-Afghanistan spokesman Sonny Leggett tweeted. Also Read - Taliban Resume Offensive Operations Against Afghan Security Forces After Peace Deal With US

The Taliban killed at least 20 Afghan soldiers and policemen in a string of overnight attacks, government officials told AFP on Wednesday.

The increase in violence follows US President Donald Trump‘s confirmation, saying that he had a “very good” chat with the insurgents’ political chief Abdul Ghani Baradar.

The crucial meeting came days after the US and the Taliban reached an agreement paving the way for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan after more than 18 years.

The deal, signed by chief negotiators from the two sides and witnessed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, could see the withdrawal of all American and allied forces in the next 14 months and allow Trump to keep a key campaign pledge to extract the US from “endless wars”.