With the security situation sharply deteriorating in Afghanistan, the US army has decided to deploy hundreds of soldiers in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, but they will not take part in combat operations. The government forces in the region have been pushed to the brink by Taliban militants, according to a statement by the military on February 9.
This will be the highest number of American troops outside major bases in Afghanistan since the end of the NATO combat mission in 2014. The US has, however, clarified that the soldiers will not take active combat roles. “Our mission remains the same: to train, advise, and assist our Afghan counterparts, and not to participate in combat operations,” Col. Michael T. Lawhorn, a spokesman for the United States military in Afghanistan, said.
“The additional American soldiers would be “doing some retraining, re-equipping and advising” for the troubled Afghan 215th Army Corps,” Mr Lawhorn added. Some of the senior officials in the Afghanistan government have been demanding for an increased US presence in Afghanistan.
According to Lt. Gen. Rahmatullah Raufi, a former Afghan Army general who now commands the Afghan Border Police, “the numbers being discussed aren’t enough; 700 or so troops cannot solve such a big problem, as Helmand is a very big province.”
Many analysts have said that the US has probably realized that it is easier to enter a war than to exit it. Afghanistan is still not ready to defeat the insurgents on its own and would need assistance from the NATO forces, according to some former military officials in the US.
As per the current security agreement with Afghanistan, the US forces in the country will provide training and logistical support, and as part of a counterterrorism mission targeting Al Qaeda and a splinter group of Islamic State militants.
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