The president will leave 5,500 troops in Afghanistan when he leaves office in 2017
The Taliban's recent surge in Afghanistan has apparently convinced Obama to change his mind about pulling nearly all American forces out. The original plan was to have all Americans forces, with the exception of a small embassy based force, out of the country by the end of next year.
The shift in plan means that the US will now keep 5,500 troops in the country when Obama leaves office in 2017. Currently there are 9,800 US troops stationed in Afghanistan.
The troops staying in Afghanistan next year continue counterterrorism efforts which includes missions, training, and advising Afghan security forces, according to officials.The US military says more troops are needed to help Afghan forces counter the growing Taliban threat. The troops will be based in Kabul, Bagram, Jalalabad and Kandahar.
The U.S. is also in talks with NATO allies in an attempt to station more international forces in Afghanistan beyond 2017. That would leave the U.S. military with more flexibility to combat terror threats emerging from Afghanistan. According to President Obama, the ending of Nato operations in December last year had come at a price. Many Afghan troops and civilians have been killed since the Taliban amped up its insurgency.
After the Taliban's recent on Kunduz, Afghan government forces were able to retake control of key parts of the city with the aid of Nato special forces and US air strikes. U.S. commanders have also expressed concern about ISIS fighters moving into Afghanistan and recruiting from within the Taliban.
"It's the right thing to do," Obama said in his statement, "As commander in chief I will not allow Afghanistan to be used as safe haven for terrorists to attack our nation again." He continued to say that the shift is "vital to US national security interests".
Is Obama making the right desicion? Let us know in the comments below!
-Bronte P., The OTG Team
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC its affiliates, or its employees.
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