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CBN News Defense Sources: 4,000 More American Troops Headed to Afghanistan

06-16-2017
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US Troops
US Troops

The Department of Defense will send nearly 4,000 additional American forces to Afghanistan, a Trump administration official said Thursday.

Other sources within the Pentagon told CBN News the official decision by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis could be announced as early as next week.

You may recall that earlier this week, President Donald Trump gave Mattis the authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan. The extra troop levels would hopefully be used to break a stalemate in a war. The move will be the largest deployment of American manpower under Trump's presidency.

Pentagon officials say the rising threat posed by Islamic State extremists has caused a rash of deadly attacks in the capital city of Kabul. The violence has fueled calls for a stronger U.S. presence.

The bulk of the additional troops will train and advise Afghan forces, according to the administration official, who wasn't authorized to talk about any specifics of the decision.

A smaller number would be assigned to counterterror operations against the Taliban and ISIS.

Chief Pentagon spokesman Dana White issued the following email statement to the media:

"Secretary Mattis has made no decisions on a troop increase for Afghanistan.  As he said throughout the week in testimony, the revised Afghanistan strategy will be presented to the president for his approval in the coming weeks.  The president has delegated force management authority for Afghanistan to the secretary.  The secretary will continue to follow the president's guidance on our overall strategy.  Any decisions about troop numbers will be made only after consultation with the interagency, the Afghan government, NATO allies and coalition partners."

CBN News spoke with retired Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, who has commanded at all levels of the Army. He spent more than 30 months in Iraq after 9/11, including 15 months as one of the leaders of the Surge in 2007.

"We are a nation at risk," Lynch said. "We got a choice. We can fight them over there, or we can fight them here. We need to fish the job. We need to give Defense Secretary Jim Mattis what he needs. You've got to rely on the competency of your leaders He is on the front lines and knows what he needs."

There have been almost 2,400 U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan since 2001. Three U.S. soldiers were killed and another was wounded in eastern Afghanistan this weekend in an attack claimed by the Taliban.

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