Pentagon admits thousands more troops in Afghanistan than previously reported

Pentagon admits thousands more troops in Afghanistan than previously reported

Pentagon admits thousands more troops in Afghanistan than previously reported

The bulk of the roughly 4,000 additional troops headed to Afghanistan will probably be composed of thousands of paratroopers from two units - the 82nd Airborne Division and an airborne brigade from the 25th Infantry Division, according to US officials.

In a briefing for Pentagon reporters, White and McKenzie emphasized that this is not an increase in personnel assigned to the country and that the number does not include any new troops that may go to Afghanistan to implement President Donald J. Trump's new South Asia strategy announced last week.

The new number was revealed Wednesday after the Pentagon announced it would provide more transparency on how it counts and discloses numbers of troops deployed, reversing a policy inherited under the previous administration.

Mattis said that the make up of those USA forces in Afghanistan would also start changing in line with Trump's guidance.

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Pentagon officials said that they are now ready to be more transparent.

Last week, U.S. Central Command Chief Gen. Joseph Votel said the first tranche of new American troops will begin arriving in country within weeks.

Prior to the release of the latest figures, media reports indicated that the number of the United States troops in Afghanistan was likely around 12,000. He added that Mattis will take a decision only after there is more clarity on the accounting rules and the exact troop numbers in Afghanistan. Right now the official tally is 5,262 in Iraq and 503 in Syria, and both numbers could be thousands off from the true tallies.

Earlier this month, the Taliban told Trump in an open letter that the military situation in Afghanistan was "far worse than you realise", and sending in more troops would be self-destructive. "I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will", Trump said. "I had to change the accounting process because we couldn't figure out how many troops we had there".

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The Pentagon has not provided the same updated troop count for Iraq or Syria, Military Times noted.

According to Pentagon officials, there are 11,000 USA soldiers are stationed in Afghanistan, rather than the previously reported 8400 which was capped by the previous administration of President Obama.

In general, he added, the extra forces will support Afghan forces, rather than doing the fighting for the Afghans.

The military is also reorganizing some of the forces already in Afghanistan to carry out the new mission.

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