The latest on America's longest war

Afghanistan update

BRUSSELS -- President Trump said during his campaign that NATO is obsolete because it doesn't fight terrorism. But the truth is, the alliance has been in Afghanistan for 16 years. Twenty-five NATO countries have forces there alongside more than 8,000 U.S. troops.

Just last month, U.S. Marines fought a pitched battle in southern Afghanistan against Taliban fighters who have been launching one bold attack after another.

The Taliban now controls roughly one-third of Afghanistan -- more than at any time since 2001, when the war began.

Earlier this year, America's top commander in Afghanistan, John Nicholson, told the Senate Armed Forces Committee the war was stalled.

"Are we winning or losing?" Sen. John McCain asked.

"Mr. Chairman I believe we are in a stalemate," Nicholson responded.

Ending America's Longest War

Sixteen years in, the Afghan war is costing America more than $3 billion a month. In 2014, the U.S. military was on its way out, handing over Afghanistan's security to the Afghans.

U.S. troop strength, which had peaked at 98,000 in 2010, plummeted to 8,400 today. But now, the Pentagon wants to reverse that. It has asked for 3,000-5,000 more personnel.

Also, they're asking for authorization to send U.S. forces closer to the front lines to backup Afghan soldiers who are often overwhelmed by the Taliban and dying in their thousands.

In Brussels, the U.S. has been trying to talk its NATO allies into adding thousands more troops to Afghanistan, but the response so far has been cool. The decision to beef up U.S. forces has been postponed until Mr. Trump returns to Washington.

  • Elizabeth Palmer
    Elizabeth Palmer

    Elizabeth Palmer has been a CBS News correspondent since August 2000. She has been based in London since late 2003, after having been based in Moscow (2000-03). Palmer reports primarily for the "CBS Evening News."