Washington, September 7: Looking at the threats in Afghanistan, the United States has taken a major decision to deploy 3,500 additional troops to Kabul in a hope to break a stalemate in the 16-year war with Taliban and Islamic State terrorist organization. With this, the total number of soldiers stationed in the war-torn country would be 14,500.
The United States Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has authorized the new deployment which is in line with President Donald Trump's Afghan policy on Wednesday. The bulk of the extra forces will train and advise Afghan troops, while a smaller number would be assigned to counter-terror operations against the Taliban and Islamic State group.
However, the additional troop deployment comes after Mattis, along with the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, briefed members of the Congress on the new Afghan strategy and also about North Korea. The House Foreign Affairs Committee announced to hold a Congressional hearing on budget request for Afghanistan and Pakistan on 13th of this month.
Interestingly, sending of additional troops in Afghanistan is a part of South Asia strategy which was announced by US President Donald Trump focused on ending the stalemate against the Taliban. On Friday last week, Mattis told reporters that he had signed deployment orders for some of the additional troops that would be sent, though he would not disclose the number.
Last week, the Pentagon disclosed that the number of American troops actually serving in Afghanistan was 11,000 and not the 8,400 official number it had been providing for some time. The discrepancy was that only troops serving more than six-month tours in Afghanistan were being counted toward the official figure.
Meanwhile, NATO forces are also expected to increase troop levels in Afghanistan. The Pentagon has said that any troop increase would not change the mission of the forces there. Afghan security forces are leading the fight and U.S. and NATO troops are serving as advisers and providing air and other critical support.
The U.S. had as many as 100,000 troops in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011, but in 2013 turned over the primary responsibility for the war to Afghan forces. In recent years, security in the country declined as the U.S. continued to decrease forces.