Afghan National Army
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When the United States surged an additional 30,000 troops into Afghanistan, they were met by 79,000 new Afghan soldiers and police. Together, the combined force of 150,000 NATO troops and 270,000 Afghan national security forces formed the real Afghan surge. The effect has been dramatic. Insurgent strongholds are being cleared in Helmand, Kandahar and Kunduz provinces; local militias are integrating into the formal security structure; commerce is returning; and schools are opening. Troops of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of Afghanistan even hold regular meetings.
Turkey, a stable and fast-growing economy, hosts leaders from Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asian states at an economic summit on Thursday that illustrates Ankara's growing regional influence.
Several suspects have been arrested in a suicide attack that killed six U.S. troops when an explosives-packed minibus blew up at the entrance of a joint NATO-Afghan base in southern Afghanistan, officials said Monday.
President Obama on Saturday said for the first time he wants U.S. troops out of major combat in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, the date he and other NATO leaders set for moving Afghans into the lead role in fighting the Taliban.
Modern wars often are described euphemistically with expressions like "overseas contingency operations" and "low-intensity conflict." They sometimes are fought from air-conditioned cubicles whence missiles are fired remotely from pilotless drones on unsuspecting targets. At the tip of the spear, however, war remains what it always has been: a punishing, violent, life-or-death struggle - the ultimate test of character of anyone who faces it.
A NATO helicopter crashed Tuesday in southern Afghanistan, killing nine international troops in a region where forces are ramping up pressure on Taliban insurgents. It was the deadliest chopper crash for the coalition in four years.