By T.J. Petrowski
After 13 years, the U.S. and NATO are announcing the end to combat missions in Afghanistan and the withdrawal of troops. But despite the symbolic flag lowering ceremony, the U.S. led war is in fact not ending, and the brutal war is set to continue through 2015. NATO is set to "transition" to a non combat, "Resolute Support" mission to assist the Afghan National Army in its operations, with 4,000 NATO troops to remain in Afghanistan into 2015.
President Obama has authorized 10,800 U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan in 2015 (an increase of 1,000 from his May 2014 pledge to reduce troop levels), to resume combat operations against Afghan militants (including night raids by Special Operation soldiers, previously banned by former Afghan President Hamid Karzai), and aerial strikes. A senior American military officer was quoted saying that "the Air Force expects to use F 16 fighters, B 1B bombers and Predator and Reaper drones to go after the Taliban in 2015."