More troops needed against Taliban in south

In 2015, the Afghan army had to replace about a third of its roughly 170,000 soldiers because of desertions, casualties and low re-enlistment rates, according to figures released by the USA military in December.

The Pentagon has now been granted new legal authority allowing the military go on the offensive against ISIS in Afghanistan.

The White House said Biden and Kerry reaffirmed U.S. support for improved ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan, offered condolences to both for recent terrorist attacks in their countries and called on them to stay committed to a negotiated end to the Afghan civil war. It's not clearly known how many operatives the group has. The new rules were first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

US forces could previously strike Islamic State in Afghanistan but it was under more narrow circumstances, such as for protection of troops.

The Taliban were threatening on Tuesday to capture three key strategic districts in Afghanistan's province of Helmand as fierce fighting with government forces stoked fears over the Islamist insurgents' gains in their traditional heartland.

Numerous fighters are individuals who defected rom Tehrik-e Taliban (TTP) an the Afghan Taliban, according to the State Department announcement. The White House has already altered Obama's original plans for withdrawing USA troops several times amid worsening security across Afghanistan. "That area is very, very rugged, it's very mountainous, it's on the border with Pakistan, and that's where most of the Daesh in Nangarhar now is", he said. Defense Sec. Ashton Carter visited eastern Nangahar province in December and discussed the growing Islamic State presence there with Gen. John F. Campbell, the commander of USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces in Afghanistan.

Sex Crimes At Highest Since Records Began
It was the biggest year-on-year jump since 2001-2002, although statisticians linked it to improved recording of offences. But it added that the major volume contribution to the increase came from current offences.