A Taliban military parade took place in Kabul on Saturday, marking the end of the military operation that drove the U.S.-backed government out of the southern city of Marjah. The parade, which took place at a daylong press conference, was attended by the Taliban’s “night vision goggles commander,” according to Reuters.
The U.S. has made no major concessions to the Taliban, though U.S. Marines from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina have been called to replace British troops in Helmand province. Richard Spencer at Foreign Policy says the move is an attempt to shrink the American footprint in the region. “It also reflects President Trump’s personal and political commitment to maintaining American troops on the ground in Afghanistan,” Spencer writes. “Even after Afghanistan’s devastating violence, President Trump promised both to leave a small force in Afghanistan and to tell the American people about the Afghan war in a way they would ‘understand.’”
Spencer also points out that less troops will likely not solve the problem of the Haqqani network, which is a terrorist group the Pentagon labels a terrorist organization. The forces from the Haqqani network are one of the most significant threats to the American-backed government in Kabul. Afghan security forces have conducted a number of violent attacks recently, including a complex attack on an army base in Kabul earlier this month that killed more than 100 people. Spencer points out that while the U.S. may think it can eliminate the Haqqani network, “the probability that the groups would not return to the Haqqani stronghold of Miran Shah in North Waziristan is unlikely.”
Read the full story at Reuters.
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