Pentagon says 2,600 more troops in Afghanistan than previously disclosed

The Pentagon said Wednesday that about 2,600 more troops are serving in Afghanistan than had previously been disclosed to the public, bringing the total number deployed in the region to about 11,000 troops.
By Harry Marcolis | Sep 01, 2017
The Pentagon said Wednesday that about 2,600 more troops are serving in Afghanistan than had previously been disclosed to the public, bringing the total number deployed in the region to about 11,000 troops.

Chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White and Joint Staff Director Lt. Geg. Kenneth "Frank" McKenzie Jr. announced the change during a Pentagon press briefing. They said Defense Secretary James Mattis wanted better transparency to include troops on temporary missions, a report by ABC News said.

"The secretary has been clear about his commitment to transparency in our public reporting procedures and increasing commanders' ability to adapt to battlefield conditions in countering emergent threats," White told reporters, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. "Following a comprehensive review of our South Asia strategy, the secretary has determined we must simplify our accounting methodology and improve the public's understanding of America's military commitment in Afghanistan."

McKenzie added that reporting approximate troop numbers allows the Pentagon to deploy complete military units instead of fragmented ones. He also said the 11,000 number does not include future deployments or the additional troops Mattis will send to Afghanistan authorized by President Trump as part of his new South Asia strategy announced last week.

White and McKenzie said the Pentagon currently is reviewing troop levels in Syria and Iraq.

"We'll give you an answer when we have them," McKenzie said, adding, "In both theaters, eventually we'll apply the same two pillars: balancing transparency of reporting with a requirement to protect the forces on the ground and give the commander maximum operational flexibility. Those numbers will be forthcoming."

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