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Pentagon Confirms 11000 US Troops in Afghanistan - Joint Staff Director

Pentagon Confirms 11000 US Troops in Afghanistan - Joint Staff Director

Acknowledging the higher number is a matter of "transparency", which Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is demanding as the US prepares to deploy more forces to Afghanistan.

Pentagon Joint Staff Director Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie said a comprehensive review showed there were approximately 11,000 uniformed United States servicemen and women in Afghanistan, compared to the 8,400 number used since past year.

"These changes will help us enhance the trust the public has placed in the department", she added.

McKenzie said the numbers for Iraq and Syria will be released soon.

McKenzie said the new count was an effort to be more transparent, but he said the Defense Department would not be providing much information on the breakdown of the U.S. forces, so as to maintain operational security and avoid "telegraphing" U.S. intentions to the Taliban.

Pentagon spokeswoman Dana W. White and Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., director of the USA military's Joint Staff, blamed the significant undercount on head-counting rules the Obama administration had devised.

But he warned the 11,000 figure is still "an approximation" and does not include future adjustments or unit turnover - including the additional troops that Mattis will send to Afghanistan as part of the president's new South Asia strategy announced last week.

"This is not a troop increase", Pentagon Chief spokeswoman Dana White specifically said.

President Trump has continuously argued against communicating exact troop numbers and movements, saying such announcements broadcast valuable information to America's enemies.

The officials, however, refused to provide similar details for Iraq and Syria, where there also are thousands more than the Pentagon publicly admits.

"We had to change how they were accounting for them, because there were so many different pockets", Mattis said earlier in August.

Army Col. Robert Manning told reporters that Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisTrump to tackle Afghanistan strategy at Camp David Four members of Joint Chiefs denounce racism US, Japan conduct air drills after North Korea issues Guam warning MORE has directed Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford "to put together a plan to achieve the strategic goals of the president's strategy". "Those numbers will be forthcoming".

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