More than a year after President Donald Trump announced his administration's new strategy for achieving success in Afghanistan and the wider region, the situation remains decidedly mixed with the conflict at a "stalemate." Still, some senior officials feel there are some reasons for cautious optimism on the diplomatic front.
And though the casualty rate for US troops is far lower than it was earlier in the conflict, Americans are still losing their lives 17 years into the war with three US service members killed in a bombing on Tuesday.
A fourth service member was killed earlier this week with the US military saying he was accidentally shot by Afghan troops while the joint US-Afghan force was combating al Qaeda elements, the group that the US went to Afghanistan to fight some 17 years ago.
On Tuesday, Trump laid out his rationale for keeping US troops in the country telling the Washington Post, "We're there because virtually every expert that I have and speak to say if we don't go there, they're going to be fighting over here."
Tuesday's deadly attack took place in Ghazni Province, an area where the Taliban have sought to wrest control of the provincial capital and have stepped up attacks against government security forces. But the insurgents have been unable to hold any major populated areas and are pushed back by Afghan troops supported by NATO advisers and US airstrikes.
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