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Published On: Mon, Nov 24th, 2014

Obama betrays promise, extends US combat role in Afghanistan through 2015

Described as a “secret signing” by the NY Times, President Obama expanded the US combat role in Afghanistan in 2015, pushing an exit date to 2016.

President Obama speech intelligence programAccording to  the Times, US jets, bombers, and drones will be able to aid ground troops and the new order permits American forces to continue to battle the Taliban and other militants that pose a threat to either the Afghan government or US personnel.

Under the order, ground troops could join Afghan troops on missions, and airstrikes could be carried out in their support.

This is significant expansion of America’s role in Afghanistan in 2015. Previously, President Obama said US forces would not be involved in combat operations once 2015 begins. He did say troops would continue training Afghan forces and track down remaining Al-Qaeda members.

“In an announcement in the White House Rose Garden in May, Mr. Obama said that the American military would have no combat role in Afghanistan next year, and that the missions for the 9,800 troops remaining in the country would be limited to training Afghan forces and to hunting the ‘remnants of Al Qaeda'” notes the Times article.

Obama signed the secret order after tense debates within the administration. The military reportedly argued that it would allow the US to keep the pressure on the Taliban and other groups should details emerge that they are planning to attack American troops. Civilian aides, meanwhile, said the role of combat troops should be limited to counter-terror missions against Al-Qaeda.

The Times said an administration official painted the secret order’s authorization as a win for the military, but another said the US would not carry out “offensive missions” against the Taliban in 2015.

“We will no longer target belligerents solely because they are members of the Taliban,” the official said.“To the extent that Taliban members directly threaten the United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan or provide direct support to Al Qaeda, however, we will take appropriate measures to keep Americans safe.”

The change in direction came as the administration faces pointed criticism from those who say the US withdrew from Iraq too quickly, allowing the so-called Islamic State to make rapid gains in a country whose military proved to be easily intimidated and defeated.

It appears that the number of troops that will be operating in Afghanistan next year will remain unchanged from previous plans. There will be 9,800 soldiers left throughout next year, and that number will be cut in half by the end of the year.

By the end of 2016, the remaining troops are scheduled to leave Afghanistan, ending the US military presence in the country.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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