UAE to Boost Troop Presence in Afghanistan for Training

(From Reuters)

Afghanistan has accepted an offer from the United Arab Emirates to boost its presence in training Afghan forces fighting Islamist insurgents, senior government officials said, as Kabul seeks to improve ties with majority-Muslim nations.

Some 200 UAE soldiers have been stationed in Afghanistan as support staff for more than 10 years, officials involved in security enforcement in Afghanistan told Reuters.

Under the new agreement, UAE troops will train recruits enlisted by the Afghan elite forces and can also be called upon to take part in specific operations targeting the insurgents, a senior Afghan official managing the arrival of UAE troops said in Kabul.

U.S. President Donald Trump in August unveiled a more hawkish military approach to Afghanistan, including a surge in air strikes, aimed at forcing the Taliban to the negotiating table under the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.

Afghan security forces say the impact has been significant, but the Taliban roam huge swaths of the country and, with foreign troop levels at about 15,600 compared with 140,000 in 2014, there appears little hope of outright military victory.

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