Inside Story

NATO: Job done in Afghanistan?

US-led alliance marks the end of its combat mission in Afghanistan after a 13-year war.

NATO has formally ended its 13-year combat mission in Afghanistan.

International troops were sent in following the September 11 attacks in 2001 to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for al-Qaeda, and to reduce the strength of the Taliban.

NATO’s presence has now came to a formal end with a flag-lowering ceremony in the capital, Kabul. The handover was held at an undisclosed location because of the threat posed by the Taliban.

Afghan forces take responsibility for security on January the first.

Thirteen thousand mainly US troops will remain in Afghanistan for up to two years, in a training and advisory role.

But the US will still conduct counter-terrorism operations, and President Barack Obama has authorised the continuation of some air and ground operations in 2015 to protect American interests.

The Taliban is claiming the end of NATO’s combat mission as a victory.

Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the withdrawal was “…a clear indication of their defeat,” and the US-led alliance had “…rolled up its flag in an atmosphere of failure and disappointment without having achieved anything substantial or tangible.”

So has NATO achieved its objectives, and is Afghanistan ready to take charge of its own security?


Sami Zeidan


Haroun Mir – founder of Afghanistan’s Center for Research and Policy Studies.

Mark Kimmitt – a former US Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs.

Helena Malikyar – an Afghani historian and political analyst.