Just two days after announcing that US Marines are being sent back into Afghanistan’s Helmand Province to try to slow the losses the Afghan military is suffering at the hands of the Taliban there, NATO has now also announced that ground troops, led by Italian forces, will be heading into the Farah Province to try to shore up defenses there as well.
The new “advise and assist” mission is smaller, involving about 200 NATO troops, and officials say that their advisory role makes it comparatively unlikely they will enter direct combat. This is in stark contrast with the Marines in Helmand, who despite being officially “non-combat” are in areas where direct combat is virtually assured.
NATO tried to pass this off as a temporary measure, but as the second in a few days it reflects that NATO claims that their involvement in the ground war ended years ago simply weren’t true, and that the Afghan government is still far from self-sufficient.
While some NATO countries managed to use the brief declaration of victory to get their troops out of Afghanistan, those who remain, predominantly the US, are facing what is still, 15+ years later, an open-ended military occupation desperately trying to keep a corrupt government stable in the face of a determined and strong insurgency, and no sign that anything has or will change in the future.