Mattis Officially Signs Orders to Send More Troops to Afghanistan

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The decision came after a deep review of strategy in which USA military leaders convinced Trump to back off his election campaign pledge to pull out of the war-torn country.

According to TIME, the president's decision to reinforce American military commitment was ratified after months considerable evaluation within the administration over the potential reward of stabilising Afghanistan to the point where its own forces can prevent a Taliban takeover and contain other militant threats outweighs the risk involved.

However, he said that the additional troops will include advisers and support personnel that will enable the Afghan force to fight more effectively. Right now the official tally is 5,262 in Iraq and 503 in Syria, and both numbers could be thousands off from the true tallies.

He said he needs to brief Congress first: "I'm going to talk on Capitol Hill shortly.I have to go up there and talk to them first", Mattis said.

Mattis has supported sending an additional 3,900 troops to Afghanistan, but since the president's strategy announcement and this new accounting figure of 11,000, the defense secretary has gone back to the Joint Chiefs of Staff asking for revised troop level recommendations. "Conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables, will guide our strategy from now on".

Officially, there are approximately 5,000 USA troops in Iraq and 500 in Syria, but like in Afghanistan, those numbers are likely higher and will be disclosed later as the new accounting practices are put in place.

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Still, the USA is expected to deploy more troops to the country following the announcement of the new Afghan strategy by President Trump.

It had previously said there were 8,400 troops in the country.

Pentagon officials announced Wednesday that approximately 11,000 troops are now stationed in Afghanistan, significantly more than the 8,400 previously reported.

"DOD's previous force management practice only disclosed publicly the forces under the force management level, not those forces on temporary missions", chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White told reporters at the Pentagon Wednesday.

US soldiers keep watch near the wreckage of their vehicle at the site of a Taliban suicide attack in Kandahar on August 2, 2017. The Afghan government only controls half of the country and is beset by corruption and infighting. More than 2,000 Americans have been killed in the war since the USA invasion about a month after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

"Well, let me just be real clear", Mattis said. "We are confident they will".

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