The outgoing U.S. commander of international forces in Afghanistan says U.S. forces will not return to an active role fighting the Taliban.
General John Campbell said there would be no change to the U.S. mission despite the likelihood of another difficult year of combat.
U.S. Special Forces assisting Afghan forces have been involved in fighting in the volatile southern province of Helmand.
"The mission hasn't changed," Campbell told reporters in Kabul in what is likely to be his final news conference before handing over to Lieutenant General John Nicholson in March.
But he said they would be able to defend themselves and call in air support if necessary.
Afghan forces, which took over combat operations when NATO's fighting mission ended in 2014, have struggled and are expected to need international assistance for years to come.