Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy [February 24, 2015]   [open pdf - 1012KB]

"As of January 1, 2015, the United States and its partner countries have completed a transition to a smaller post-2014 mission consisting mostly, but not exclusively, of training the Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF). The number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, which peaked at about 100,000 in June 2011, has been reduced to about 10,500, of which most are trainers and advisers as part of a 13,000-person NATO-led 'Resolute Support Mission.' About 1,000 of the U.S. contingent are counter-terrorism forces that continue to conduct combat, operating under a new U.S. 'Operation Freedom's Sentinel' that replaces the post-September 11 'Operation Enduring Freedom.' President Obama directed in May 2014 that the U.S. force will shrink during 2015 to about 5,000 by the end of this year, and their presence after 2015 will be exclusively in Kabul and at Bagram Airfield. The post-2016 U.S. force is to be several hundred military personnel, under U.S. Embassy authority. However, doubts about the ability of the ANSF to operate without substantial international backing have led to recent U.S. alterations of the post- 2014 U.S. rules of engagement and to U.S. command statements that the 2015-16 drawdown plan might be altered."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL30588
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