8,400 US Troops to Remain in Afghanistan, Violence in Middle East Escalates
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WASHINGTON (NSP) — President Barack Obama called the situation in Afghanistan “precarious” Wednesday as he announced he would keep 8,400 service members in the country through the end of his term.
The announcement comes after a slew of attacks in the Middle East over the past few days have left over 270 dead in Turkey, Iraq, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia.
The President’s previous plan was to have the number of American troops down to 5,500 by the end of the year; however, there are currently still 9,800 U.S. troops in the country.
“I strongly believe that it is in our national interests, especially after all the blood and treasure we’ve invested in Afghanistan over the years, that we give our Afghan partners the very best opportunity to succeed,” the President said from the Roosevelt Room in the White House.
Troops were originally deployed to the region in October of 2001. This October will mark the 15th year the United States has had a military presence in the country, cementing its place in history as the longest war conducted by the United States.
Combat operations officially ended in October of 2014 and since then 38 Americans have died in the country. Currently 41 countries are partnered with the United States, supplying more than 6,000 troops to support operations within the country.
The Obama administration scored a victory in the Middle East Thursday with Iraqi security forces retaking the city of Fallujah from ISIL.
Later this week representatives from 28 nations will convene at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland, to discuss a range of topics including Afghanistan and combating ISIL.
“In consultation with President [Ashraf] Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah and the Afghan government, we and our NATO partners remain determined to help the people of Afghanistan secure a more peaceful future,” Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said at Thursday’s press conference.
During the course of the conflict, over 26,000 civilian deaths due to war related violence has been documented, 29,900 civilians have been wounded and over 91,000 Afghans, including civilians, solder and militants have been recorded. An additional 360,000 deaths have been recorded as being indirectly related to the war in Afghanistan.
As of October 1, 2015, there have been 2,326 U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan and 1,856 of those deaths have been from hostile action. Over 20,000 American service members have also been wounded in action during the war and an additional 1,173 U.S. civilian contractors have died.
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