The American Special Forces teams have over the past decade become a central part of the local security landscape in Afghanistan. The 12-man teams are embedded in remote areas with a high insurgent threat, and they train indigenous police and elite Afghan units while coordinating the efforts of the local government and security bureaucracies. They also hunt down Taliban figures.
More than ever, the Special Forces are trying to have their Afghan counterparts take the lead. While that has always ostensibly been the plan, it only really began to be a focus this year, when it dawned on commanders that one way or another they were leaving. The American team captain in Koh-e-Safi acknowledged that it had been hard to keep his men from going out on missions.
Meantime, the present situation in Afghanistan is quite problematic. Civilians seem to have paid the heaviest price in the Afghan war, and the death toll of those not involved in the conflict continues to rise. The war in Afghanistan continues taking and destroying lives. Civilians have been killed by crossfire, improvised explosive devices, assassination and bombing.