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Saturday, April 17, 2021

U.S. Has 1,000 Extra Troops in Afghanistan Than It Disclosed

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So, formally, the Pentagon insists that troop numbers are decrease. “We’re nonetheless at 2,500” in Afghanistan, Maj. Rob Lodewick, a Pentagon spokesman, mentioned in an electronic mail to The New York Instances on Friday.

What U.S. forces stay in Afghanistan are stationed at roughly a dozen bases and consist principally of Particular Operations troops advising Afghan items on the headquarters degree, in addition to flight and assist crews for plane. In southern Afghanistan, U.S. jets fly overhead nearly nightly.

Since this time final yr, U.S. troop numbers in Afghanistan have declined from 12,000 to the present quantity. That drop was staunchly opposed by Pentagon leaders, who’ve lengthy mentioned that at the very least 8,600 U.S. troops are wanted, each to assist the Afghan forces and to conduct counterterrorism missions.

However a overview of the U.S.-Taliban deal by the Afghan Examine Group, a congressionally mandated report that submitted its findings to lawmakers final month, concluded that sustaining round 4,500 troops in Afghanistan may very well be sufficient “to safe U.S. pursuits beneath present circumstances and at an appropriate degree of danger.”

Along with the three,500 Individuals, there are roughly 7,000 NATO and allied troops nonetheless in Afghanistan who rely upon U.S. forces for logistics and power safety. If america did, certainly, attempt to depart by Could 1, it might be nearly not possible logistically to withdraw each the American and the allied forces in time, specialists have mentioned, although U.S. officers insist it stays an possibility.

Regardless of the shrinking timeline, Mr. Biden has but to resolve whether or not U.S. troops will keep past the proposed date — and in that case, what number of — or depart, ending America’s longest warfare after greater than 19 years.

Mr. Biden’s personal inclination, when he was Mr. Obama’s vp, was towards a decreased U.S. presence. However as president, he should weigh whether or not following such instincts would run too excessive a danger of the Taliban defeating authorities forces and taking on Afghanistan’s key cities. Many senior navy commanders nonetheless argue {that a} full withdrawal might additionally result in Al Qaeda and different teams hostile to america regaining a distinguished presence within the nation.

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