Obama reverses US troop withdrawal in Afghanistan

President Obama’s policy to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan by the end of his presidency will be reversed, it has been revealed.

He had originally planned to reduce the troops to 1,000 when he left office, leaving a small embassy based force.

Obama said “Given what’s at stake in Afghanistan and the opportunity for a stable and committed ally that can partner with us in preventing the emergence of future threats, and the fact that we have an international coalition, I am firmly convinced that we should make this extra effort”

“As commander in chief, I will not allow Afghanistan to be used as a safe haven for terrorists to attack our nation again.”

He described the mission in Afghanistan as, “vital to US national security interests”

The move has come in a bid to support Afghan forces following gains by Taliban militants who are capable of launching deadly attack on major cities in Afghanistan.

Currently Afghan troops are in charge of national security with help from the US and NATO.

However, these troops have struggled against the Taliban, and there are fears that without the support they are currently receiving from the US and NATO, the Taliban may again gain strength reigniting the security issues that prompted the 2001 invasion.

There are also fears that further instability in the region might enable ISIS fighters to move into the country.

This move means that the future US president will be the third to face negotiating a final withdrawl of US troops and close to the conflict.

Key facts

There are currently 9,800 troops in Afghanistan. By the end of Obama’s presidency, it is now estimated there will be 5,500 remaining. 

Troops were originally deployed in 2001 following the 9/11 terror attacks and have resulted in:

  • The destruction of al-Qaeda training camps
  • Fall of the Taliban government and the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan under President Karzai
  • The start of the Taliban insurgency

According to US figures, there have been 3,407 coalition troop deaths in Afghanistan, and over 26,000 civilian deaths 

UK troops pulled out in October 2014 and the coalition mission ended at the end of 2014