ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Les Etats-Unis ne se retirent plus d’Afghanistan
Translated Friday 30 October 2015, by
President Barack Obama announced a "pause" in the withdrawal of the 10,000 US troops still in Afghanistan on Thursday. With the "blunder" of the Kunduz hospital, the failure to conclude the war is consummated.
"This announcement does not change in any way the fact that our combat mission in Afghanistan is over," emphasized a source close to the US president. "We will continue to conduct two targeted missions: counterterrorism and training, and advice and assistance to our Afghan partners." In practice, however, Obama’s promise to definitely leave Afghanistan by the end of 2016 has been stopped abruptly.
This decision is not surprising. Since his election to the head of the Afghan executive just a year ago, Abdullah Abdullah has not stopped asking the United States to stay. A position that contrasts with the more independent position that prevailed under the rule of Hamid Karzai. In the field, Afghan forces’ failures are growing. The recent, albeit temporary, taking of a major city, Kunduz, by the Taliban, is a strong sign. This is the Taliban’s greatest military victory since 2001. And even if they were eventually removed from Kunduz on Tuesday, their lightning conquest of this great city in the north of Afghanistan has made an impression. The fall of the city was a bitter defeat for the Afghan troops. And the "blunder" that resulted, the US bombing of the only hospital in the city, run by the charity Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), has plunged the United States into the greatest embarrassment. NATO strikes against an MSF hospital (In French).
Obama has therefore chosen to keep its 10,000 troops still present on Afghan soil to support local forces. The US are attempting to limit the fallout of this retreat. It remains, however, that contrary to the promise made as early as 2008, several thousand American soldiers will still be on Afghan soil when Barack Obama leaves the White House in January 2017. Beyond 2016, the US president anticipates keeping 5,500 soldiers on a small number of bases, including Bagram (near Kabul), Jalalabad (to the east) and Kandahar (to the south).