'Afghan forces may get combat enabler support'
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): US President Barack Obama has newly decided that American troops “may provide combat enabler support” to Afghan forces post-2014 in limited circumstances to prevent detrimental strategic effects on them.
The decision comes weeks ahead of American troops entering a new phase of limited presence in Afghanistan. Those familiar with the recent decision said US troops would continue to act in self-defence.
“As the President announced in May, the United States’ combat mission in Afghanistan will be over by the end of this year, and the Afghan government will be fully responsible for the security of their country,” a senior administration official told Pajhwok Afghan News.
“After this transition is complete, we will no longer target belligerents solely because they are members of the Taliban, while we work with the government of Afghanistan to achieve a peaceful and lasting settlement to the conflict,” the official added.
In his speech, Obama also stated that the United States will be continuing “two narrow missions” in Afghanistan after 2014, the official noted.
“First, a key focus mission in Afghanistan will be counterterrorism, and we will continue to target the remnants of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan to prevent an Al Qaeda resurgence or external plotting against US targets or the homeland,” the official said.
“Second, to protect our investment in Afghanistan, the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will complete by the end of 2014 the transition to a non-combat mission of training, advising, and assisting the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF),” the official said.
“As part of this mission, the United States may provide combat enabler support to the ANSF in limited circumstances to prevent detrimental strategic effects to these Afghan security forces,” the senior administration official told Pajhwok Afghan News.
“Safety of our personnel is the President’s first priority and our Armed Forces will continue to engage in operations in self-defence and in support of Afghan Security Forces," the official added.
“So while we will no longer target belligerents solely because they are members of the Taliban, to the extent that Taliban members directly threaten the United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan or provide direct support to Al Qaeda, we will take appropriate measures to keep Americans safe,” the official said requesting anonymity.
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