US to Send Nearly 4K More Troops to Afghanistan: Report

A team of infantry Marines with 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, crosses a field during a security patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan, in 2014. Cpl. Cody Haas/Marine Corps
A team of infantry Marines with 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, crosses a field during a security patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan, in 2014. Cpl. Cody Haas/Marine Corps

The U.S. plans to send nearly 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan, the Associated Press is reporting.

The Defense Department may next week announce the deployment of mostly trainers and advisers, the AP reported Thursday night, citing a Trump administration official.

A Pentagon spokesman told Military.com “no decision has yet been made.”

The figure is in line with a long-standing request from Army Gen. John Nicholson, the U.S. commander to Afghanistan, to deploy 3,000 to 5,000 additional American service members to the country.

The U.S. currently has roughly 8,400 troops in Afghanistan (excluding those in country on a temporary basis), while NATO and coalition allies have a total of about 5,000 forces.

American troop levels in the country peaked at about 100,000 in 2011 after former President Barack Obama approved a surge of about 30,000, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday said President Donald Trump gave him the authority to set troop levels in the theater. He planned to present the president with a new strategy for the war — including how and when to deploy the troops — in a matter of “weeks, not months.”

Mattis also said he would develop the strategy in concert with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Last week, three U.S. soldiers were killed and one wounded after an Afghan soldier shot them in eastern Afghanistan, the Defense Department said. The so-called insider attack brings to six the number of Americans killed in combat in the country this year — all in Nangarhar province.

Since the U.S. launched military operations in Afghanistan in 2001, a total of 2,399 American service members have died in support of the war, according to the website icasualties.org, which tracks U.S. and coalition deaths.

— Richard Sisk contributed to this report.

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