The NATO Mission Support Breakdown

While Afghan forces are able to handle the bulk of ongoing missions targeting ISIS and the Taliban, there are still about 20 percent that involve US forces, including one earlier this week that resulted in the death of a US Army Green Beret. Eighty percent of Afghan missions are conducted “completely independent” of NATO, which means “they don’t need any assistance whatsoever,” US Army Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland, the deputy chief of staff of communications for the Resolute Support Mission, said in a Wednesday briefing. Half of the other missions NATO calls “enabled operations,” which means that while NATO forces do not “go outside the wire” they help plan and sometimes provide surveillance support, Cleveland said. There’s still 10 percent of the missions that involve NATO forces going out with Afghan forces, he said. While these still are called “advise” missions, NATO forces travel with Afghans and usually stop at the last safe spot to help Afghans execute the mission. This was the type of mission that was taking place on Tuesday when Army SSgt. Matthew Thompson was killed by an improvised explosive device in Lashkar Gar, Helmand Province. Afghanistan is still a “dangerous place” and incidents such as this can happen while troops are on the move, but still not in the middle of a combat situation, Cleveland said.