The Marine Times is reporting that there are 300 U.S. Marines on their way to Afghanistan to “help Afghan troops stop the Taliban from swallowing more of the hard-fought territory for which so many Marines have bled and died.”
According to an Associated Press report last month, there are already around 8,400 troops currently stationed in Afghanistan. This recent troop movement comes after Gen. John W. Nicholson requested a “few thousand” more soldiers to Afghanistan.
The Marine Times claims that this is the largest Marine deployment to Afghanistan since 2014, marking increased levels of conflict in the country with more U.S. troops under fire. The new troops will reportedly be replacing the Army’s Task Force Forge, and will remain in the country for a 9-month tour.
The military newspaper furthermore states that “Helmand province is becoming increasingly dangerous for U.S. troops. In March, three American soldiers were shot at an Afghan military base in an apparent insider attack and in February, a Special Forces soldier was severely wounded in Sangin”
The marines are expected to train the Afghan National Army and police in marksmanship, indirect fire, small-unit tactics, and other skills. Col. Matthew Reid elaborated further, telling the Marine Times:
“Make no mistake, though we are no longer in a combat role in Afghanistan, it is still a combat environment… As Marines, we train and deploy with a combat mindset.”
Recent Violence In Afghanistan
Even though it appears that sources from the military are painting this development as one which only serves as a training mission for Afghanistan soldiers, it doesn’t explain the fact why a General would request a “few thousand” more soldiers or why the bombing campaign has reached new heights. As the Associated Press report on this story illustrates, the General requested the soldiers in an effort to “help break the stalemate in the war-torn country.”
The conflict in Afghanistan could be reaching new levels as the U.S. recently detonated a Massive Ordinance Air Blast bomb there. Although not as powerful as a nuclear bomb, it was the largest non-nuclear bomb used by U.S. military in combat throughout the nation’s extensive military history.
If we study historical trends of troop numbers, we can see that there was once over 100,000 troops in Afghanistan. If troops gradually come out of a country historically following a conflict, this move could be solely to provide the framework for a switch of military power in the country back to the Afghanistan government, as reported by the Marine Times.
However, given the unpredictable nature of the Trump administration’s military policy, nothing can be assumed or expected as of now.