Obama grants US military broader role to assist Afghan troops fight Taliban

Afghan-and-US-forcesThe US President Barack Obama has approved broader role for the US military to assist the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) to fight the Taliban-led insurgency.

According to reports, the broader role granted to the US military will allow them to accompany Afghan forces and assist them more proactively on the battlefield.

US defense officials have said the decision would also allow greater use of U.S. air power, particularly close air support.

The officials speaking on the condition of anonymity further added that the broader role granted by Obama however does not mean that “This is a blanket order to target the Taliban.”

The US forces were earlier accompanying the Afghan special forces only when it was needed, the officials said, adding that the under the new policy the US commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, will be able to decide when it is appropriate for American troops to accompany conventional Afghan forces into the field.

The expanded powers are only meant to be employed “in those select instances in which their engagement can enable strategic effects on the battlefield,” the officials added. -KP

THE PASHTUN TIMES

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