January 1, 2015—The Afghanistan War wallows in its 13th year, making the latest development more of a token than a substantial change in reality for U.S. troops. The U.S.-led coalition, NATO, is claiming victory as it ends its combat role in Afghanistan. But the Taliban didn’t hesitate to claim its own victory.
About 10,600 Americans in uniform are staying and the war will carry on under a different banner.
From the article at Wall Street Journal:
The new force has two components. A NATO mission dubbed “Resolute Support” will focus exclusively on training and advising Afghan troops. U.S. forces, in addition to taking part in Resolute Support, will also have a limited combat role as part of a separate counterterrorism mission.
“The Afghan national security forces are ready to assume full responsibility for protecting the Afghan people,” Hanif Atmar, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s national security adviser, told foreign and Afghan officials gathered on the court. “This is as it should be. But we also recognize that we will still need your partnership and support.”
Under the new mission, the bar will be higher for U.S. forces to enter into operations against the Taliban or to intervene with airstrikes in support of the Afghan military. Some Afghan officials worry this will strain the ability of poorly equipped Afghan forces to counter Taliban offensives in the coming months.
“To be honest, it isn’t fine,” an Afghan official said. “If there is no air support, there won’t be too much difference between our forces and the Taliban.”
From the article at al-Arabiya:
“We consider this step a clear indication of their defeat and disappointment,” the Taliban said.
“America, its invading allies… along with all international arrogant organizations have been handed a clear-cut defeat in this lopsided war.”
Is the Afghanistan War another “forgotten war”? Share your thoughts in the comments.