In a significant reversal of policy, President Barack Obama’s administration will now all American soldiers to fight alongside Afghan troops in combat situations, and will allow close air support in combat. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter confirmed the change in policy, and said,
This is using the forces we have… in a better way, basically, as we go through this fighting season, rather than being simply reactive. This makes good sense. It’s a good use of the combat power that we have there.
By “fighting season,” Carter is referring to the fact that the Taliban are most active during the summer months.
The change in policy comes one day after John Sopko, appointed by Obama as Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), said that the situation in Afghanistan is continuing to deteriorate: