Taliban Current Affairs

US to extend military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2016

United States has announced to extend its military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2016 as per shift in policy to further cooperate for fighting terrorists.

It was confirmed by US President Barack Obama by announcing that around 5,500 troops will be present in Afghanistan when he leaves office in 2017.

Originally all except a small embassy-based force were due to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2016. But more troops were needed to be deployed in Afghanistan order to help Afghan forces to counter a growing Taliban threat in wake of recent surge in terrorist attacks.

Currently there are around 9,800 US troops stationed in Afghanistan and they will be stationed in four locations – Kabul, Bagram, Jalalabad and Kandahar.

Background

  • Earlier in January 2015, joint US-NATO led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) combat mission in Afghanistan ended and was replaced by NATO Training and Support mission.
  • It was meant to assist and train Afghan army and police forces in their battle against the Taliban rather than not directly involving in any combat mission.
  • It had resulted in creation of vacuum in the internal Security of Afghanistan and there was a surge in Taliban attacks.

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Taliban captures northern Afghan city of Kunduz

Taliban militants have captured the strategic northern Afghan city of Kunduz in a massive assault involving hundreds of fighters.

This massive attack comes a day before the first anniversary of President Ashraf Ghani’s unity government. It is also one of the massive attack undertaken by Taliban militants after formal end of US-NATO coalition mission in Afghanistan in December 2014.

Setback: Kunduz is also the first provincial capital to be seized by the Taliban militants after they had lost their power after the US-led invasion in 2001. The fall of Kunduz marks a major setback for Afghan government forces who are struggling to combat the Taliban militants since the shift US and NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) combat mission to a supporting role.

Strategic Importance: Kunduz province is strategically important as it is considered a gateway to Afghanistan’s Northern provinces and Central Asia as it shares a border with Tajikistan.

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