The U.S. military has warned the Taliban group that there would be responses if the violence could not be reduced, emphasizing that all sides must return to the political path.

The U.S. military spokesperson Col Sonny Leggett in a statement said “This moment is an opportunity for Afghanistan – for the people of Afghanistan to say clearly to all who listen that they want peace.”

Col Leggett issued a statement in response to a statement released by Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid who had asked if General Scott Miller’s message was a warning for war or peace?

“While it may be a long and difficult road, the military forces of all sides have a unique role in setting the conditions for. Reducing the violence is an absolutely necessity – and this is up to the leaders of all military forces – Afghan Security Forces, Taliban fighters and, yes, the Coalition. Attacks general attacks, while restraint produces restraint. All sides must choose restraint to prevent more killing and violence. If the violence cannot be reduced – then yes, there will be responses,” Col Leggett said.

He also added “All sides must also return to the political path. The release of Taliban and Government of Afghanistan prisoners should be accelerated to stems the spread of COVID-19 and to foster an environment for Intra-Afghan negotiations. Afghans should sit down now and begin talking about the future of Afghanistan together. The international community has called on the Government of Afghanistan to settle their political differences and begin Intra-Afghan negotiations.”

“In Doha, we agreed US and Coalition force would continue to partner, support – and when necessary defend – out Afghan brothers and sisters. We take our responsibility very seriously,” he said, adding that “I assure you General Miller understands the unique and historic opportunity we have worked hard to create for Afghanistan. To date, the U.S. has not conducted a single offensive strike or operation since before the start of the reduction in violence period.”

This comes as the Taliban militants have recently intensified attacks against the Afghan forces despite ongoing efforts to find a negotiated political settlement to end the conflict in the country.