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Has the U.S. Defeated Al-Qaeda?
Will the U.S. Ever Leave Afghanistan?
American troops and NATO military advisors fought alongside Afghan forces this week, trying to reclaim the city of Kunduz from the Taliban. The city had fallen to the Taliban on Monday. A spokesman for the U.S. military told the Washington Post that an air strike had been called in, after scores of Afghan soldiers fled from the city in retreat. Since then, there have been conflicting reports over who is in control in Afghanistan's sixth largest city. The UN reported that 100 civilians have been killed in the siege and 6,000 have fled.
The outcome of Kunduz is vital to the future of Afghanistan. As President Obama has vowed to completely withdraw U.S. forces by the time he leaves office in 2017, bringing America's longest war to an end, there's growing concern over whether or not Afghanistan's army can stand up to Taliban insurgents. This was the first time since 2001 for an Afghani city to fall to the Taliban. With Islamic extremism a potent force in the region, the Pentagon and White House are weighing the options of continued U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. As of now, the U.S. is an active component of the Afghan military, deploying 143 airstrikes in August alone, according to The Los Angeles Times.
The Taliban in Afghanistan (cfr.org)
"The Taliban is a predominantly Pashtun, Islamic fundamentalist group that ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001, when a U.S.-led invasion toppled the regime for providing refuge to al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden."
The ISI and Terrorism: Behind the Accusations (cfr.org)
"Pakistan's military intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), has long faced accusations of meddling in the affairs of its neighbors."
After Losing Province in 2010, Afghan Taliban Strike Back (nytimes.com)
"A sudden Taliban offensive in the southern province of Kandahar in recent days has led to some of the heaviest protracted fighting there in years, officials said on Sunday."
Afghanistan says Taliban leader dead, urges peace talks (reuters.com)
"Afghanistan said on Wednesday that Mullah Omar, the elusive leader of the Taliban movement fighting to topple the government, died more than two years ago."