NATO flag lowered in Afghanistan as combat mission ends - The Washington PostThe 13-year NATO combat mission in Afghanistan formally ended Sunday with a ceremonial retirement of its green flag and a pledge by top officials of the U.S.-led coalition to remain reliable partners in Afghanistan’s unfinished war against the Taliban and other militant groups.
Campbell and other Western officials stressed that their chief function under the new mission, named Resolute Support, will be to advise, train and assist Afghan security forces. They said, however, that a separate “non-NATO” contingent of U.S. forces will participate in force protection, logistical support and counterterrorism activities.
The Taliban responded to the transition event with glee. In a lengthy statement issued Sunday night by a Taliban spokesman, the insurgent group gloated at the final departure of a “haughty” superpower that “thought it had already won the war and that the Mujaheddin would never . . . think of putting up a fight.”
While remaining NATO forces will have a formal mission of providing training and "assistance" to Afghan forces, a separate U.S. force will continue to provide security, logistical support, and engage in "counterterrorism."
In other words a limited combat role for U.S. forces will continue. Five thousand Americans will remain with the NATO contingent of 12,000, while 5,500 U.S. troops will remain in the separate, combat role. In other words, no, the U.S. war in Afghanistan is not over.