During a surprise visit to Afghanistan today, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter touted the massive expansion of the rule of engagement for US forces in the country, saying they will allow for “more efficient” support of the Afghan government in fighting the Taliban.
The previous rules, which nominally marked the end of the Afghan War, restricted active US operations in Afghanistan, but mounting losses to the Taliban has left the insurgency with more land than any time since the 2001 US invasion, leading to the escalation.
New US commander in Afghanistan Gen. Nicholson confirmed Carter’s comments, and said the new authority was used far more often than the Pentagon had previously admitted, insisting that troops used the authority “almost daily.”
Nicholson insisted that defense operations in support of the Afghans had been picking up for 18 months at any rate, well before the new authority was granted, but that now the US could take on operations “more of an offensive nature.”
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