Resolute Support is a NATO-led, non-combat mission. It was launched on January 1, 2015, following the conclusion of the previous NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission, and the assumption of full security responsibility by the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF). Its purpose is to help the Afghan security forces and institutions develop the capacity to defend Afghanistan and protect its citizens in a sustainable manner.
The Resolute Support Mission currently comprises around 13,000 personnel from 39 NATO Allies and partners. It operates with one ‘hub’ (Kabul/Bagram) and four 'spokes’ (Mazar-e-Sharif in the north, Herat in the west, Kandahar in the south, and Laghman in the east).
The Resolute Support Mission focuses primarily on training, advice and assistance activities at the security-related ministries, in the country’s institutions, and among the senior ranks of the army and police. The Resolute Support Mission works closely with different elements of the Afghan army, police, and air force. The Commander of the mission has a degree of flexibility in the use of personnel and assets at his disposal. This ensures that training, advice and assistance are delivered most effectively and where they are most needed.
The mission performs supporting functions in several areas. These include: operational planning; budgetary development; force generation process; management and development of personnel; logistical sustainment; and civilian oversight (in order to ensure the Afghan security forces and institutions act in accordance with the rule of law and good governance).
At the NATO Summit in Warsaw on July 8-9, 2016, Heads of State and Government decided to sustain the Resolute Support Mission beyond 2016, using a flexible, regional model which would continue to deliver training, advice and assistance to the Afghan security institutions, including the police, the air force, and special operations forces. They also committed to keeping the mission and its design under review.
Ahead of the meeting of NATO Leaders in Brussels on May 25, 2017, Allies and Resolute Support operational partners reaffirmed the decisions taken in Warsaw. They noted that the ANDSF are improving, whilst still requiring support; and they agreed to continue sustaining the Resolute Support Mission and to keep it under review.
At the latest meeting on November 9, 2017, Defence Ministers from all of the 39 troop contributing nations to the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission addressed four key issues: the troop level of the mission, funding for the Afghan forces, progress on reforms and reconciliation, and continued engagement with Pakistan. Currently, around 13,000 troops from 39 different countries serve in Resolute Support Mission. Allies welcomed the United States briefing on the implications of the new South Asia Strategy on the mission, which has already led to an increase in the US troop contribution. 27 other nations have also committed to increase troop numbers in the coming months. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that the size of Resolute Support Mission will increase from around 13,000 to around 16,000 troops.