Paul Gordon Collier-
On December 28th, 2014, history books will show that the war in Afghanistan came to an end. At least that’s what the U.S, and Afghan officials hope. A ceremony was held this past Sunday to mark the transition for the International Security Assistance Force to a support role. 13,500 Soldiers will remain after January 1st, taking more of a support, and less of a lead role. Most of the troops will be American.
The war lasted for 13 years. It began shortly after the 9/11 attacks on September 11th, 2o01. It was begun as a mission to uproot the Taliban, which controlled Afghanistan at the time. As of the writing of this article, 2,150 Americans have died fighting in Afghanistan, with most of the deaths occurring between 2009 and 2012. 55 Americans were killed in Afghanistan in 2014. In 2010, over 450 Americans died in Afghanistan, the most of any of the 13 years. The Surge was announced on December 1st, 2009 but did not begin fully until 2010.
Gen. John Campbell, the commander of ISAF, led the ceremenony, symbolically taking down the green and white flag of ISAF and raising up the new mission flag, Resolute Support.
“Resolute Support will serve as the bedrock of an enduring partnership” Campbell stated to the audience present. The audience comprised NATO and Afghanistan Officers, Afghan officials, diplomats and journalists.
The new Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, has signed a security agreement with both the US and NATO that allows the troops to stay in a support role. Since the signing of the security agreement, the Taliban have stepped up their activity, targeting Afghan government officials.
While the symbolic end has come for the war in Afghanistan, and while US troops will see their mission significantly alter, the war in Afghanistan continues on for the people of Afghanistan.
The Afghan force stands at 350,00. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has stated that the force is prepared to handle the efforts by the Taliban and their supporters to reclaim the country.