The war in Afghanistan has become one of the most complex of America’s overseas engagements. Despite a 16-year US presence in the Middle Eastern country, the Taliban has solidified its power in the region.
To counter this difficult situation, President Donald Trump is making significant changes to how the US tackles terrorist forces. According to The Daily Caller, President Trump has authorized the CIA to expand paramilitary forces in Afghanistan and work alongside local partners to hunt and kill Taliban forces.
The CIA “kill teams” also include US Special Forces, and are specifically aimed at stopping Taliban bomb makers who attempt to move weapons across the country. This constitutes the latest White House effort to put pressure on terrorists in Afghanistan.
Previously, President Trump modified rules for CIA drone strikes in Afghanistan, allowing for civilian casualties relative to the significance of the target. The changes are in line with Trump’s new Afghanistan strategy, as detailed in August.
Under the new strategy, the Trump administration seeks to force the Taliban to negotiate with the US-friendly national government. Rather than being based on a timeline, the Afghanistan strategy is focused on accomplishing specific conditions in the country.
Currently, the Taliban holds more territory than at any time since 2001–and nearly a third of the country’s population sides with the terror-aligned political group. The situation means the US must recover more ground if it hopes to bring the Taliban to the point of negotiation.
Accordingly, Defense Secretary James Mattis authorized the deployment of 3,000 troops to Afghanistan in August, and bombs are being dropped on Taliban-controlled areas in record numbers in order to demoralize the terrorist network.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has made is clear to Taliban forces that the US is committed to remaining in the country for as long as it takes. “We’ll be here as long as it takes until you change your mind,” he said.
The focus on eliminating Taliban-made bombs addresses one of the greatest dangers facing American servicemen in Afghanistan. According to The New York Times, roadside bombs have maimed thousands of Afghan and American military and local civilians. They’re relatively cheap to make and account for about 900 of 5,700 attacks carried out in the first three months of 2017.
The Taliban has also begun mirroring ISIS by using “suicide vehicles” packed with explosives. The CIA will counter these threats by working hand in hand with the military in covert operations. CIA paramilitary officers from the agency’s Special Activities Division will lead the forces. Although elite American troops from the Joint Special Operations Command will be part of the “kill teams,” the majority of the members will be Afghan militia.
President Trump has authorized the CIA to expand their influence in eradicating the Taliban from Afghanistan. Does the Taliban stand a chance?
President Trump, said “The killers need to know they have nowhere to hide, that no place is beyond the reach of American might and American arms. Retribution will be fast and powerful.”
As reported by USA Today, the US has approximately 11,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan. And CNN notes, over 2,000 American forces have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001, along with over 30,000 US-allied Afghan military and police.