The Pentagon dropped a not-so-shocking truth bomb Wednesday when they acknowledged that there are around 11,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, a number that is thousands more than previously reported.
Dana White, Defense Department spokeswoman, stated that the new number does “not represent an increase in troops in the country,” but with the influx of new troops spurred by the McMaster-wing of the White House, the roughly 8,400 troops in Afghanistan – a cap set during the Obama years – is seemingly increasing.
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White claimed that the new number comes on the heels of Defense Secretary James Mattis reversing the method previously used for counting troops, these methods left off shorter missions and partial-unit deployments, as well as various other factors.
The changes, according to White, are in place to “enhance the trust the public has placed in the department,” and that the new total is allegedly only “approximate” and for “operational security” purposes, according Joint Staff Director Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Frank McKenzie, Jr.
White also failed to comment on the troop level details for Iraq and Syria, where thousands more troops are serving, she cited, “each operational theater” being “different”.
It’s known within defense circles that there are far more troops in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq than the Pentagon officially admits. Due to the Obama-era troop caps, commanders artificially keep the public troop count lower by moving forces around in the region and using specific personnel accounting methods.
Following the announcement, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) applauded what he said was a decision by the White House and Pentagon to “put the facts on the table.” He also took a swipe at the previous president.
“The Obama Administration did not shoot straight on how many people they sent to Afghanistan, which added cost to the mission and made it harder to succeed,” he said in a statement. “It is important to be upfront about the importance of the mission and what it takes to succeed.”