Security sphere situation
AFGHANISTAN APPROVES PLAN TO INCREASE US, NATO MILITARY ACTION
Afghanistan's lower house of parliament has approved agreements with the United States and NATO allowing international forces to remain in the country past the end of this year, amid a renewed offensive by Taliban militants.
Sunday's approval came after U.S. officials said President Barack Obama had issued new guidelines expanding the U.S. military's ability to respond to militants.
Speaking under condition of anonymity, officials told news outlets the decision allows U.S. troops to go after Taliban fighters if they pose a threat to U.S. and coalition forces. The order reportedly also applies if the militants provide direct support to al-Qaida.
The new authorization for 2015 also means the U.S. can offer air support to Afghan troops when needed.
President Obama had previously said U.S. missions in Afghanistan next year would be limited to training Afghan forces and counter-terrorism operations against al-Qaida.