Reinforcement troops from the Afghan army prepared to travel to Kandahar.
Ahmad Masood/Reuters

Michael Evans & Tom Coghlan, The Australian/The Times: Afghan army collapse drags US back into war

The US is being sucked back into the war against the Taliban despite the official end of NATO combat operations because Afghan forces are suffering unprecedented casualties.

US rules of engagement are supposed to prevent its aircraft in the country from taking a direct role in fighting unless they are participating in counter-terror operations against al-Qa’ida, or when the 16,200 American and NATO troops in the country are directly threatened. With Afghan allies taking a battering, however, US airstrikes have continued since NATO combat operations ended in December.

The strikes have been increasing, with 52 bombs dropped in March, up from 36 in February. The reason, Western officials say, is that US commanders are deliberately committing American “trainers and mentors” to danger areas so that they can then justify the use of airpower to support Afghan­ forces on the ground.

WNU Editor: The Afghan Army is experiencing unprecedented casualties .... and I suspect that at this rate they will soon not able to sustain military operations against the Taliban in many parts of the country. I also suspect that right now .... in the Pentagon and in the White House .... there is a growing realization that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan may have to be reconsidered.

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