US to Send 4K More Troops to Afghanistan
Move comes after defense chief Mattis gets more authority to set levels
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 16, 2017 7:17 AM CDT
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In this April 22, 2017, photo, an Afghan national Army stands guard at a checkpoint in the Kabul-Jalalabad highway on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan.   (Rahmat Gul)

(Newser) – The Pentagon will send almost 4,000 additional American forces to Afghanistan, the largest deployment of US manpower under President Trump's young presidency, reports the AP. The decision by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis could be announced as early as next week, said a White House official. It follows Trump's move to give Mattis the authority to set troop levels and seeks to address assertions by the top US commander in Afghanistan that he doesn't have enough forces to help Afghanistan's army against a resurgent Taliban insurgency. The bulk of the additional troops will train and advise Afghan forces, according to the administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A smaller number would be assigned to counterterror operations against the Taliban and the Islamic State, the official said. A spokesman for Afghanistan's defense ministry was reluctant to comment on specifics Friday but said the Afghan government supports the US decision. "We want to finish this war in Afghanistan with the help of the NATO alliance." Former President Obama set a cap a year ago of 8,400 troops in Afghanistan after slowing the pace of what he hoped would be a US withdrawal. Nevertheless, there are at least another 2,000 US troops in Afghanistan not included in the official count. These include forces that are technically considered temporary even if they've been in the war zone for months.

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