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The Pentagon says a Washington Post story claiming it is making an
"unannounced" deployment of 13,000 additional troops to Afghanistan is
Pentagon spokesman, Colonel Dave Lapan, says the Post story itself
notes that the 13,000 support troops are within the overall maximum
authorized by President Barack Obama earlier this year.
story confirms that 68,000 is still the number. So nothing is
missing. Nothing is hidden. The 13,000 doesn't somehow increase from
68 [thousand] to above that. So we've consistently said by the end of
the year, on the current glide path, 68,000. And as the story
acknowledges, that's where we'll be," said Lapan.
He explains, as Pentagon officials have in the past, that the
deployment of major combat or training units always requires the
deployment of additional support troops. The support troops perform a
variety of functions such as mine clearance, equipment servicing,
construction, air support, medical services and many others.
President Obama took office in January, there were about 34,000 U.S.
troops in Afghanistan. Within weeks, he approved a Pentagon request
for an additional 21,000 combat and training troops, plus support
units. Shortly afterward, officials made public that the support
troops would number up to 13,000, bringing the overall total to 68,000
by the end of the year -- a doubling of the deployment from when he
took office. The 68,000 figure has been widely reported ever since.
Again, Colonel Lapan.
sense that there are somehow 13 [thousand] that weren't authorized or
that are somehow new, well then that would make the 68 [thousand]
number go up by 13,000, wouldn't it? But it's not," Lapan said.
Pentagon says there are now about 65,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan,
with more on the way in the coming months. There are also about 39,000
troops from other NATO and coalition countries.
and his national security team are considering a request from his new
commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, for a substantial
number of additional troops. The official number is secret, but news
reports say the general wants about 40,000, possibly more.
request is controversial, not least because with the U.S. troop level
in Iraq expected to remain around its current 120,000 for at least
several more months, the strain on the U.S. Army is considerable.