After Trump’s controversial speech on the future of Afghanistan, rumors and false information exploded across social media and the web. In order to combat this fake new, the Pentagon released a report this Wednesday setting the record straight on Trump’s Afghanistan strategy.
Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie, joint staff director stated, “The number 11,000 is an approximation. It may be slightly above that, it may be slightly below that, it will certainly vary.”
The Lieutenant General also noted, “This is not an attempt to bring more forces in, but it is an attempt to actually clarify a very confusing set of reporting rules that has the unintended consequence of forcing commanders to make readiness trade-offs. So what it does is, it actually lets the American people know what their sons and daughters are doing in Afghanistan.”
Moreover, he clarified that although the new figure doesn’t include any additional troops that President Trump had authorized to send as a part of his announcement last week, he stated, “No troops have started to flow. No deployment orders have been issued,” McKenzie said of the reinforcements, which could reach as many as 3,900. “Should that number change significantly,” he said, “we will come back in here to tell you that.”
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee issued a statement praising the Trump administration for being so proactive in setting the record straight. “I am pleased to see that as we prepare to execute a new strategy in Afghanistan, President Trump and Secretary Mattis have chosen to put the facts on the table.”
“The Obama administration did not shoot straight on how many people they sent to Afghanistan, which added cost to the mission and made it harder to succeed. It is important to be upfront about the importance of the mission and what it takes to succeed,” he concluded, throwing a jab at the myriad failures of the Obama administration.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis stated that they have reviewed the numbers of troops present in three countries: Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. As of yet, the number that have been revealed suggest 5,200 troops in Iraq and 500 in Syria.
Dana White, a Pentagon spokeswoman, noted that the numbers still exclude “sensitive units and certain temporary missions,” and stated, “We are reviewing Iraq and Syria and the same guiding principles will govern how we roll out those numbers as well.”