By OFFLINE Staff U.S. troops are preparing to return to Afghanistan on Tuesday, as the war in the country’s volatile east enters its fourth year.
But while the American troop withdrawal has begun, Afghanistan is still grappling with a new security challenge.
The Taliban and other armed groups are also vying for power in the largely impoverished country.
The U.N. says nearly 30,000 Afghan civilians have been killed in the fighting, while the Afghan government says at least 13,000 have been wounded.
The latest figures from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) indicate the conflict killed at least 2,817 civilians last year.
The Taliban’s recent gains have also forced the Afghan army to pull back its support for Afghan security forces in an attempt to stem the insurgency.
Afghan forces were deployed to retake Kunduz city, the provincial capital of Helmand province, last month.
The move prompted a fierce battle between Afghan and Taliban forces that lasted more than an hour, with Afghan troops reportedly using their heavy weapons and vehicles to attack Afghan security personnel and civilians.
The battle has also sparked protests against the U.s. withdrawal.
Afghans living in the Afghan capital, Kabul, have also taken to the streets, demanding a greater say in the government and a greater share of government spending.
The protests have also triggered protests in other provinces, including Helmand and Jalalabad.
On Tuesday, President Ashraf Ghani is expected to announce that he will seek to form a new government, with the head of the Taliban and two other insurgent leaders expected to join the new administration.
Ghani said in his speech that the U-S.
and the United Kingdom have failed to meet their commitment to the Taliban’s peace talks.
He said the U.-S.
government and the international community have failed the Taliban to achieve a political settlement.