US approves 1,000 additional troops in Afghanistan due to deteriorating security situation, defense official says

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Taliban fighters hoist their flag at the house of the governor of Ghazni province in Ghazni, Afghanistan on August 15, 2021.
Taliban fighters hoist their flag at the house of the governor of Ghazni province in Ghazni, Afghanistan on August 15, 2021. Gulabuddin Amiri / AP
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After 20 years of US intervention, thousands of deaths and at least $ 1,000 billion, the Taliban’s advance in the country has been surprisingly rapid.

Less than a month after terrorists linked to al-Qaeda carried out the 9/11 attacks, US and allied forces begin an invasion of Afghanistan called Operation Enduring Freedom, to prevent the Taliban from providing safe haven for al-Qaeda. Qaeda and to stop al Qaeda attacks. the use of Afghanistan as a base of operations for terrorist activities.

On December 7, 2001, the Taliban lost their last major stronghold when the city of Kandahar fell. Since then, the Taliban have tried to gain ground in Afghanistan throughout the stay of US forces there and through several US administrations.

Most recently, in January 2017, the Taliban sent an open letter to then-newly elected US President Trump, calling on him to withdraw US forces from the country.

Between 2017 and 2019, there were attempted peace talks between the United States and the Taliban that never resulted in a deal.

On a surprise trip to Afghanistan in November 2019 for a Thanksgiving visit with U.S. troops, Trump announced that peace talks with the Taliban were resuming. Peace talks resumed in Doha, Qatar, in December of the same year.

The United States and the Taliban signed a landmark agreement in February 2020, which set in motion the potential for a complete withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. The “Accord to Bring Peace to Afghanistan” described a series of US and Taliban commitments related to troop levels, the fight against terrorism and intra-Afghan dialogue aimed at bringing about “a ceasefire.” permanent and global fire “.

In the month following the signing of the Trump administration’s peace deal with the Taliban, the insurgent group has stepped up its attacks on America’s Afghan allies to higher than usual levels, according to data provided to the Pentagon’s Special Inspector General for the Reconstruction of Afghanistan.

In August 2020, Afghanistan’s grand assembly of elders, the Consultative Loya Jirga, passed a resolution calling for the release of the last batch of some 5,000 Taliban prisoners, paving the way for direct peace talks with the group of insurgents to end nearly two decades of war. . The release of the 400 prisoners was part of the agreement signed by the United States and the Taliban in February.

In March 2021, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and the Biden administration proposed to the Afghan government to enter into an interim power-sharing agreement with the Taliban.

In April 2021, President Biden announced that the United States would withdraw its forces from Afghanistan by September 2021.

In August, just months after the United States began to withdraw its forces, the Biden administration sent 5,000 troops to Afghanistan after the Taliban began to take control of the country.

On August 15, after the Taliban took control of all major cities in Afghanistan except Kabul, in just two weeks, the Taliban began talks with the government in the capital over who will lead the nation. .

The Taliban are now on the verge of taking full control of the country and seized the presidential palace in Kabul after President Ghani fled the country. Previous talks to form a transitional government appear to have been dashed by Ghani’s departure.

CNN’s Clarissa Ward, Tim Lister, Vasco Cotovio, Angela Dewan, Mostafa Salem and Saleem Mehsud contributed to this post.

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