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, stated in an e mail to The New York Instances on Friday.

What U.S. forces stay in Afghanistan are stationed at roughly a dozen bases and consist largely of Particular Operations troops advising Afghan models on the headquarters degree, in addition to flight and assist crews for plane. In southern Afghanistan, U.S. jets fly overhead virtually 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 stated that at the least 8,600 U.S. troops are wanted, each to assist the Afghan forces and to conduct counterterrorism missions.

However a evaluation 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 below present situations and at a suitable degree of danger.”

Along with the three,500 Individuals, there are roughly 7,000 NATO and allied troops nonetheless in Afghanistan who rely on U.S. forces for logistics and drive safety. If america did, certainly, attempt to depart by Might 1, it will be virtually unattainable logistically to withdraw each the American and the allied forces in time, consultants have stated, although U.S. officers insist it stays an possibility.

Regardless of the shrinking timeline, Mr. Biden has but to determine whether or not U.S. troops will keep past the proposed date — and if that’s the 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 vice chairman, 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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