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As America approaches the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, we also approach the 18th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.
U.S. forces are still there. So are the Taliban and Al Qaida — and a growing branch of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
January - March - Report - Lead - Inspector
From January through March 2019, according to the latest report from the lead inspector general for Operation Freedom's Sentinel, four Americans were killed in combat in Afghanistan.
"On October 7, 2001, the United States launched combat operations under Operation Enduring Freedom to topple the Taliban regime and eliminate al Qaeda," the inspector general explained in a brief historical summary of the war.
Taliban - Regime - US - Officials - End
"The Taliban regime fell quickly and U.S. officials declared an end to major combat operations on May 1, 2003," said the summary.
Then the democracy building started.
United - States - Coalition - Partners - Afghan
"Subsequently, the United States and international coalition partners continued to work with the Afghan government to build democratic institutions in the country," the inspector general explained.
"However, as the new Afghan government developed, the Taliban regrouped and launched increasingly deadly attacks to recapture lost territory," said the inspector general.
US - Forces-Afghanistan - USFOR-A - Inspector - Estimates
U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) provided the inspector general with estimates of how many fighters the Taliban and various terrorist groups now have in Afghanistan. But these estimates, it said, were made with "low confidence."
"USFOR-A told the DOD OIG that it estimated the Taliban has 20,000 to 30,000 fighters in Afghanistan," the report said. "An additional 10,000-25,000 fighters periodically join the Taliban for attacks, though only a portion of them are fighting at any given time."
Confidence - ISIS-K - Islamic - State - Iraq
"USFOR-A estimated, with low confidence, that there are as many as 5,000 ISIS-K (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-Khorasan) fighters and 300 al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan," said the report.
The State Department's latest report on human rights in Afghanistan describes some of what these "fighters" were doing...
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