Taliban advance continues in Helmand province
The United States will begin sending 300 marines in what is being described as a long term strategy to help contain the Taliban advance into Helmand province, Afghanistan. US armed forces officially pulled out of Afghanistan in 2014 as per President Obama’s strategy to withdraw from the country. As the local Afghan security forces feel the heat from rival Taliban militias, it appears more might need to be done to guarantee Afghan security for the foreseeable future.
NATO armed forces on patrol in Kabul after the Taliban launched a deadly car bombing Source: Wakil Kohsar/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
The army unit set to be deployed will focus on intelligence gathering capabilities, training, advisory and logistical support. Afghan security forces sustained significant loses in the first half of 2016 with around 16,000 lives lost to Taliban insurgents (Source: Marine Corps Times). To put that in perspective, those afghan loses are double the number of serving U.S boots on the ground currently in Afghanistan.
Brigadier General Roger Turner spoke with to the media today emphasising the role U.S forces are set to play will however not likely remain a passive train and observe mission.
“We’re viewing this as a high-risk mission…We’re not in any way viewing this as a noncombat mission, or something to take lightly” he said.
Former Colonel Turner pictured in 2013 at a change of command ceremony. Source: Marine Corps Photographers – 1st Marine Division
Brigadier Turner, who also holds a degree in International Relations from the Naval War College, is tasked with leading the mission. The 300 marines are set to replace an existing force called Task Force Forge. Planning for their mission to support local Afghan forces began last year with commanding officers making a visit to assess the situation on the ground back in October. Despite having to return to a battleground U.S forces have formally withdrawn from, Brigadier Turner was optimistic about the progress of local Afghan security forces. According to Turner, Task Force Forge have set a new standard in training and support.
“They’ve really gotten to a point where our level of advising needs to be pretty sophisticated to match where their capabilities are” Brigadier Turner said.
NATO forces continue to battle the Taliban for control of the country. Source: UN
As far as mission time frames and end dates are concerned, Lt.General Bydler told The Washington Post they will remain, saying “We will do this mission as long as we are required.”
US Marines and Special Operations Navy Seals conducting a series of training jumps (courtesy of U.S Navy Video).
There are 8,500 U.S soldiers already serving in the NATO led Afghanistan mission with various taskforces assigned to gaurd key government installations around Kabul as well as Bagram airbase.
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