US has 11,000 troops in Afghanistan, says Pentagon

There are about 8,400 US troops currently deployed in Afghanistan. (Source: AP) Top News

The United States has about 11,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan as per the policy of President Donald Trump for the war-torn country, the Pentagon has said. The announcement is part of the new transparent accounting procedure set in motion by Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, Chief Pentagon spokesman Dana W White told reporters at a news conference yesterday.

“Under the new, simplified accounting methodology, the current total forces number in Afghanistan is approximately 11,000. This does not include any potential future adjustments the secretary of defence may make in order to accomplish the president’s new strategy for South Asia,” said Marine Lt Gen Kenneth McKenzie, director of joint staff.

However, White noted that said this is not an announcement of a troop increase. “We are simply being more transparent about the way we communicate America’s military commitment in Afghanistan, while still protecting sensitive information,” he said.

McKenzie had said that in November 2016, the previous administration authorised the increase of the force manning level to 8,448. And until now, the department has routinely reported approximately 8,400 forces, with a complex series of authorised exemptions above that, he said.

Congressman Mac Thornberry, chairman of the house armed services committee said he is pleased to see that ahead of the execution of a new strategy in Afghanistan, Trump and Mattis have chosen to put the facts on the table.

“The Obama Administration did not shoot straight on how many people they sent to Afghanistan, which added cost to the mission and made it harder to succeed. It is important to be upfront about the importance of the mission and what it takes to succeed,” he said.

White said similar calculation is being done in on troops deployed in Iraq also.

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