NATO ceremonially end combat mission in Afghan after 13 years

img The US and NATO ceremonially ended their combat mission in Afghanistan on Monday, 13 years after the Sept.

11 terror attacks sparked their invasion of the country to topple the Taliban-led government.

NATO’s International Security Assistance Force Joint Command, which was in charge of combat operations, lowered its flag, formally ending its deployment.

US Gen. John F. Campbell, commander of NATO and US forces, said that the mission now would transition to a training and support role for Afghanistan’s own security forces, which have led the fight against the Taliban insurgents since mid-2013.

“The Afghan security forces are capable,” Mr. Campbell said.

“They have to make some changes in the leadership which they’re doing, and they have to hold people accountable.”

From Jan. 1, the coalition will maintain a force of 13,000 troops in Afghanistan, down from a peak around 140,000 in 2011. There are around 15,000 troops now in the country.

The mission ends as the Taliban is increasing its attacks. US President Barack Obama recently allowed US forces to launch operations against both Taliban and al-Qaida militants, broadening the mission of the US forces that will remain in the country after the end of the year.

Violence continued on Monday in the country, as suicide bombers launched an assault on a police station in southern Kandahar province. Police killed three suicide bombers, said Samim Akhplwak, the spokesman for the provincial governor. He said casualty figures were unclear.

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