Pentagon spokesperson Dana White announced Wednesday that there are approximately 11,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. This number represents about 2,600 more troops than has been previously reported by dozens of news agencies and the Pentagon.
White said the larger numbers were intended to provide more transparency and improve public knowledge about U.S. “involvement in overseas wars.”
The newly-reported figure does not include an estimated 4,000 troops which Donald Trump announced would be added to U.S. forces in the region in an August 21 speech. U.S. troops have been on the ground in Afghanistan since October 2001.
The U.S. and NATO involvement in a military combat mission was announced as “over” in 2014, but several thousand troops remained. Afghanistan is the longest-running U.S. military conflict, Business Insider reported August 22.
According to a BBC overview of the international military conflict in the war-torn nation, the U.S. deployed 30,000 troops to Afghanistan in 2009 for the largest officially-reported troop surge for a total of over 100,000 U.S. military personnel at the time. The current number of troops represent about 10 percent of the highest number of U.S. military personnel that have officially been deployed over the war’s nearly 16-year history.
In July 2016, Barack Obama announced that about 8,400 U.S. troops would remain in Afghanistan due to a “precarious security situation,” according to the Defense Department. This figure has been officially reported to news organizations as the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan for the past twelve months.
The Pentagon reported that U.S. troops killed the leader of ISIS-K, Abu Sayed, in a drone airstrike on July 11. Troops with the Afghan National Army (ANA) are fighting ISIS and Taliban forces in the northeastern region of the country, bordering Pakistan.
The current fighting is part of a joint Afghanistan and U.S. campaign to defeat ISIS-K. Leaders of ISIS-K are referred to as “emirs,” and three have been killed in raids in the region over the past year. A joint commando raid in April resulted in the death of several other ISIS-K leaders, along with 35 ISIS fighters and two American soldiers.
Rob Cotton reported August 22 in the Inquisitr that Donald Trump’s base was “furious” over broken promises to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
Reports of U.S. troop presences in Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern countries, as well as drone strike casualty figures, differ from 2016 reports and earlier because the Pentagon is changing its reporting methods and accuracy. New figures do not necessarily indicate an increase in actual death totals or troop deployment reports, regardless of the social media you may read that seems to show increased troop deployment or bloodshed.
U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced “we had to change how we were accounting for them” earlier in August. “We in this building [Pentagon] couldn’t figure it out,” Mattis admitted publically.
[Featured Image by Massoud Hosseini/AP Images]