US to Leave More Troops in Afghanistan in 2015

Troops to Stay to Cover NATO Shortfalls

The Obama Administration’s plan for the Afghan occupation in 2015 is changing in significant ways on a near daily basis, and is now virtually unrecognizable from what was being sold to the American public just months ago.

It was supposed to be less than 10,000 troops staying entirely to perform training operations. On Friday, it was revealed the president had signed a secret agreement to change training operations to direct combat throughout 2015.

Now the “less than 10,000” troops number is being scrapped, as officials say their contribution to the NATO occupation is being increased by a significant, but as yet undetermined number, but likely in the range of 1,000 extra troops.

The nominal justification is that the rest of NATO isn’t putting up the troops they were promising, and that otherwise the occupation “would have lost bases” if the US didn’t pick up the slack.

It’s more than that though, with the troops being committed to direct combat instead of just training operations, and scrapping a long-standing ban on night raids, the war is starting to look like it is escalating.

The US began the Afghan occupation in late 2001, and it escalated dramatically in 2008-2009. Officials sold the drawdown going into 2015 as the “end” of the war, despite a deal to keep troops there through “2024 and beyond.” With the number of troops increasing, and what they’re doing escalating, the claim of an end seems even less credible.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.