So, about those Afghan military forces who the U.S. is keeping troops in Afghanistan to train: They've pulled out of at least two districts in the Helmand province, the site of heavy fighting between Taliban and other forces and U.S. and NATO troops.
Voice of America reports:
Afghanistan's military has downplayed the recent withdrawal of troops from bases in a restive southern province, saying "logistics" and "tactical" reasons prompted the move. This comes as Afghan, Pakistani, Chinese and U.S. officials prepare to meet in Kabul for a new round of four-way discussions to promote Afghan peace talks.
The military retreat over the past few days from Musa Qala and nearby Nawzad districts is said to have enabled the resurgent Taliban to further expand its influence in the largest Afghan province of Helmand.
Deputy Army Chief General Murad Ali Murad, while addressing a news conference in Kabul Monday, dismissed criticism Afghan forces have retreated from the area under pressure from the insurgents.
Afghan officials insist troops have been redeployed so that they could get in touch with their families (since troop levels are not high enough to rotate troops out of combat operations) and for more training.
The U.S. has been training Afghan troops since the war started in 2002. "If you're just waiting to train the Afghans to be policemen and the military," Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) told Reason in 2013, "it's taken 11 years already. You can train a monkey to ride a bicycle in less time."
Almost 6,000 U.S. troops are scheduled to remain in Afghanistan through 2017, though the number of troops and the date could be revised upward.
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