Thursday April 26, 2018 10:51 PM

The US intervention in Afghanistan

The US intervention in Afghanistan
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Army soldiers from the 2nd Platoon, B battery 2-8 field artillery, fire a howitzer artillery piece at Seprwan Ghar forward fire base in Panjwai district, Kandahar province southern Afghanistan, June 12, 2011 REUTERS

Currently 8,400 American soldiers are taking part in Nato's operation in Afghanistan, which comprises a total of 13,000 troops in all. Most of them are charged with overseeing and training Afghan forces

Below are developments in the US military presence in Afghanistan, as President Donald Trump unveiled Monday his new strategy for the country and cleared the way to send thousands more US troops there.

Currently 8,400 American soldiers are taking part in Nato’s operation in Afghanistan, which comprises a total of 13,000 troops in all. Most of them are charged with overseeing and training Afghan forces.

War on terror

On October 7, 2001, less than a month after the September 11 attacks, US president George W Bush launches operation “Enduring Freedom” in Afghanistan, after the Taliban regime refuses to hand over al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

Apart from air strikes, the US backs the Afghan Northern Alliance, which is fighting the Taliban, contributing paramilitary teams from the CIA and special forces.

Some 1,000 US soldiers are deployed on the ground in November, rising to 10,000 the year after.

Forgotten war

Attention is diverted from Afghanistan as US forces in 2003 mount an invasion of Iraq, which becomes the main US concern.

In 2008 the American command on the ground calls for manpower to carry out an effective strategy against the Taliban insurgency. Bush agrees to send additional soldiers and by mid-2008 there are 48,500 US troops there.

Peak of 100,000 troops

In 2009, in the first months of the presidency of Barack Obama, elected on campaign promises to end the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is a surge in the number of US soldiers in Afghanistan to around 68,000.

In December, Obama raises the strength of US forces in Afghanistan to around 100,000.

End of combat operations

In September 2014 Afghanistan signs a bilateral security accord with the US and a similar text with Nato: 12,500 foreign soldiers, of which 9,800 are Americans, will remain in the country in 2015, after the end of the Nato combat mission at the end of 2014.

From the beginning of 2015, American troops will be charged with two missions: anti-terrorist operations against al-Qaeda and the training of Afghan forces.

Amid a resurgent Taliban, on July 6, 2016, Obama again slows down the pace of withdrawal, saying that 8,400 US troops will remain in Afghanistan into 2017.

MSF clinic bombed

On October 3, 2015, at the height of combat between Islamist insurgents and the Afghan army, backed by Nato special forces, a US airstrike bombs a hospital run by Medecins Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) in northern Kunduz province, killing 42, including 24 patients and 14 members of the NGO.

Mega bomb against IS

On April 13, 2017, the US military drops the largest non-nuclear bomb it has ever used in combat, hitting IS positions in a network of tunnels and caves in the east, killing 96 jihadists.

In July, the US army kills the IS’s new leader in Afghanistan, the third such chief slain by Washington and Kabul.

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