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Pentagon acknowledges more troops in Afghanistan

August 31, 2017

The US defense headquarters has acknowledged that there are thousands more US troops in Afghanistan than previously stated. The new count exceeds the troop cap set under former President Barack Obama.

U.S. Army Soldiers secure a landing zone
Image: Imago

Pentagon officials disclosed on Wednesday that about 11,000 US forces were currently deployed to Afghanistan, much more than the 8,400 acknowledged earlier.

The actual number of troops in Afghanistan has long remained under scrutiny, with US military officials privately acknowledging that the number of troops in Afghanistan was far bigger than the cap allowed.

But the public count was kept low by commanders using various personnel accounting tactics. US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had expressed frustration at such methods of counting US troops in conflict zones.

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"This is not a troop increase," but rather an effort to be more transparent about the total size of the US force, Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said.

White declined to provide similar details for Iraq and Syria, where many believe there are higher troop numbers than the Pentagon has publicly admitted.

The new count, which includes temporary and covert units as well as regular forces, comes as the Pentagon is gearing up to station about 4,000 additional troops in Afghanistan under President Donald Trump's revised plans to counter the Taliban.

ap/cmk (Reuters, AP, AFP)