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The Pentagon Comes Clean About Thousands Of US Troops In Afghanistan

The official count of U.S. troops in Afghanistan has surged by several thousand after the Pentagon started counting "temporary" postings.
Posted at 9:59 PM, Aug 30, 2017

President Donald Trump's new Afghanistan strategy involves upping the number of U.S. troops in the country by the thousands. Apparently, the Pentagon already has a head start on that.

On Wednesday, the Department of Defense announced that there are about 11,000 U.S. troops currently serving in Afghanistan. Which is fascinating, because the official cap is supposed to be around 8,400 troops.

But there hasn't been a sudden stealth troop surge; the Pentagon is just changing how it counts troops. Previously, thousands of personnel with "temporary" assignments were left out of the official count, keeping it in line with President Barack Obama's troop limits.

The new count is important: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is currently working out the number of additional forces the Trump administration will send to Afghanistan. He's expected to order around 4,000 more troops.

The Pentagon's new math is also expected to affect the number of U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. officially has around 5,200 troops in Iraq and 500 in Syria — for now.