US Deploys Special Forces On Iran Border

KABUL — The Afghan Ministry of Defense has confirmed that US Spe­cial Forces have been deployed to the western province of Farah near the Iranian border.

Ministry spokesman Moham­mad Radmanish said on Sunday that the deployment aimed to train Afghan troops on how to use new weapons, stressing that US Special Forces would not take part in com­bat operations.

He did not provide further de­tails and it is yet not clear how many troops have been deployed to the province.

The deployment comes despite President Donald Trump’s election campaign promises to end US mili­tary intervention in Afghanistan. Trump introduced a new Afghanistan strategy in August last year, hinting at relaxing the rules of engagement, accelerating strikes and other mili­tary actions aimed at producing “an honorable and enduring outcome.”

Since he took office, the number of troops has nearly doubled in Af­ghanistan – from 8,500 in early 2017 to 14,000 earlier this year.

The US invaded Afghanistan with the express aim of defeating Taliban but the militants are openly active in 70 percent of the country, a study re­leased by the BBC said in January.

The remote and sparsely-pop­ulated province of Farah has be­come a higher-profile target for the Taliban as the government plans to build a multi-billion-dol­lar pipeline in the province that also involves Turkmenistan, Pakistan, and India.

The province has been the scene of several major attacks in the recent past. In May, Taliban militants attacked the capital city of Farah in an attempt to capture the city but failed to advance amid ongoing resistance by Afghan forces. On Sunday, a bomber killed three Czech soldiers who were on a NATO foot patrol in eastern Afghanistan, an attack claimed by the Taliban which said it had killed eight “US invaders.”

“The invaders had to bring three helicopter ambulances to pro­tect their forces,” Taliban spokes­man Zabihullah Mujahid said in statement.

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