United States working with India, Pakistan to stabilise Afghanistan

Afghanistan

Nevertheless, Nicholson said that over the next two years, US troops will work to double Afghanistan's special operations forces, dial up airstrikes, and deploy more than 1,000 USA troops into combat alongside Afghan forces for the first time since the end of official combat operations in early 2015.

"These changes in leadership, strengthened and supported by the renewed global will and the USA policy announcement, have shifted the momentum in their favor", he said. "There will be greater risk", he said. During a visit that same month to Kabul, then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates proclaimed "we have enjoyed a lot of success over the a year ago to 18 months", and if Afghan forces can hold those gains, "we can say we've turned a corner here in Afghanistan".

Nicholson said the United States would go to "great lengths" to ensure American troops near the front lines are as well protected as possible.

USA commanders, defense officials, and even presidents have not been shy about predicting a win in Afghanistan. In 2017, 11 American troops have been killed in action there. These numbers along with territory controlled are not expected to change within the next year as the USA military focuses on building the Afghan military's capacity before a major offensive.

The United States has already added some 3,000 troops to bring its total in Afghanistan to about 14,000 and lifted several restrictions on using airpower against the Taliban.

Nicholson earlier this month said that the Pentagon will assess the progress of the war in two years.

US President Donald Trump, in August, unleashed his policy of ramping up pressure on Pakistan, a close ally of US, in a bid to fully implement the revamped Afghan war strategy.

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about counter-terrorism during his visit to MacDill Air Force Base, home to U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command, in Tampa, Florida, U.S. December 6, 2016.

As of August, the government controlled or influenced only 56.8 percent of the country's 407 districts, a 1 percent decline during the past six months and a more than 6 percent decline from the same period previous year, according to the most recent report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

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