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Fri Jun 10, 2016, 04:53 PM


Obama Expands Military’s Role in Afghan War He Sought to End

U.S. troops will deploy alongside conventional Afghan forces as President Barack Obama, in a sign that peace negotiations and nation-building in Afghanistan have foundered, broadens a mission he had long hoped would be over by year-end.

American forces will have an expanded mandate to target groups including the Taliban in Afghanistan, aiding their Afghan counterparts not only in training and advising but also accompanying them on the ground and in the air, an administration official said. The U.S. has had troops in Afghanistan since just after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“It is a realization that the policy that stressed on peace-making and political dialogues was premature and not framed according to ground realities,” Omar Samad, a former Afghan ambassador to Canada and France, said in an e-mail. “This is now Obama’s war, and part of his legacy will be determined by how he handles the end stage and what he leaves behind for the next administration.”

Drone Strike

Obama, who ran for his second term on a platform that included ending U.S. involvement in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, decided in October 2015 to delay a planned draw-down and maintain 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan through 2016. The expanded U.S. role comes less than a month after a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan killed Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour. Obama said that action sent “a clear signal to the Taliban and others that we’re going to protect our people” because Mansour and the Taliban had been “specifically targeting U.S. personnel and troops inside of Afghanistan.”



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