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US Marines Again Deploying into Afghanistan’s Helmand Province

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Around 300 US marines will head to Helmand province in Afghanistan this spring to help a NATO-led mission to train Afghan forces, US authorities said – reported The New Arab.
"Approximately 300 marines will deploy to Helmand Province, Afghanistan in spring 2017 in support of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission," a statement from the Marine Corps said, following a request from US Central Command (CENTCOM) and the US forces in Afghanistan.
"[They] will train and advise key leaders within the Afghan National Army 215th Corps and the 505th Zone National Police," it added.
They will also advice Afghan defence and security forces and "assist in preserving gains made together with the Afghans".
The move puts US marines back in Helmand, who left in 2014 as NATO withdrew its forces and let Afghan troops lead the fight against the Taliban.

They were among the first US forces sent to Afghanistan after the 2001 terror attacks in the US. Several thousand were deployed in Helmand, an opium-producing region, where they engaged in bitter combat with the Taliban insurgency.

The administration of outgoing President Barack Obama had hoped to withdraw most US military forces from Afghanistan by now, leaving behind just a small force.
But some 8,400 US military personnel remain in the country, and Washington is now returning the Marines to Helmand.
The Afghan army and police are struggling in the fight against a resurgent Taliban.
In early December General John Nicholson, the chief US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, said that Kabul directly controls about 64 percent of the country's population of 30 million, down slightly from 68 percent earlier in 2016.
He said that the Taliban have been especially active in Helmand province and are working opium with traffickers.
"There's a nexus here between the insurgency and criminal networks that's occurring in Helmand that makes Helmand such a difficult fight," he added.
Afghanistan is by far the world's largest opium producer. The UN estimates 2016 production at 4,800 to 6,000 tons, up sharply from 3,300 tons in 2015, while cultivated areas have increased by 10 percent in one year.

Russia ambassador, Zamir Kabulov, in a briefing with Turkish based international Analodu News Agency said that the US has only a single military base in Turkey, while in Afghanistan, there was no need of the nine ones, reported The Kabul Times.
Denouncing the comment full of maliciousness from the Russian ambassador, the house of people said peace could be restored and Daesh influence could be availed through the regional countries cooperation with the government of Afghanistan, not by opposing it.
The house called the remarks a clear interference in the internal affairs of the country and said Afghanistan was an independent country and can tighten relations with any of the regional or world countries under the signed strategic treaties. Afghanistan shouldn’t be considered as a proxy battlefield between Russia and the US.
Earlier, both Russian and the Taliban representatives met and then widened relations with the terrorist group, after militants loyal to the IS appeared fighting both the people and the government of Afghanistan.

The main aim of the Russians was to hearten Taliban against Daesh in Afghanistan, where the US, it blamed to have been attempting to send Daesh fighters to the central Asia.
The move by the Russian sparked anger from the Afghans, but the plan was soon made clear that it was encouraging the Taliban to stand against Daesh.
Nearly a week ago, a trilateral meeting was hosted by Moscow, where representatives from China and Pakistan have attended, but empty of the main terrorism hit nation’s (Afghanistan) representative.
The meeting participants expressed their grave concern over what they called growing insecurity and Daesh influence in Afghanistan and negotiated on how to find a solution to the problem.
Kabul called any of the neighbors or regional countries talks on the country, ineffective and asked the negotiating countries to step up effectively in war on terror.

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