The US Department of Defense has announced about 3,000 additional American troops have been deployed to Afghanistan under President Donald Trump’s new war strategy for the country.
The Pentagon had previously said about 11,000 US forces were stationed Afghanistan. The new deployment has raised the number of American troops in the war-torn country to at least 14,000.
“We’ve just completed a force flow into Afghanistan,” Joint Staff Director Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie told reporters at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, on Thursday.
“The new number for Afghanistan is now approximately 14,000. Might be a little above that, might be a little below that as we flex according to the mission,” he added.
In August, Trump announced his controversial war strategy for Afghanistan. In a blatant U-turn from his campaign pledges to end the now 16-year occupation of Afghanistan, Trump said that his views have changed since entering the White House and that he would continue the military intervention “as long as we see determination and progress” in Afghanistan.
Trump authorized an increase of thousands of troops requested by US Army General John Nicholson, Commander of Resolute Support forces and American forces in Afghanistan.
Nicholson has said he needs about 16,000 troops in Afghanistan, and NATO countries have also pledged to help make up the difference.
The United States — under Republican George W. Bush’s presidency — and its allies invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban regime from power, but after more than one and-a-half-decade, the foreign troops are still deployed to the country.
After becoming the president in 2008, President Barack Obama, a Democrat, vowed to end the Afghan war — one of the longest conflicts in US history – but he failed to keep his promise.
Trump, who has spoken against the Afghan war, has dubbed the 2001 invasion and following occupation of Afghanistan as “Obama’s war”.
But now Trump has announced to deploy thousands of more troops to the war-torn country, signaling a policy shift.