Pentagon announces there are 2600 more troops in Afghanistan than previously reported

Former U.S. vice-president Joe Biden declared American troops would be 'totally out' of Afghanistan by 2014

Pentagon Joint Staff Director Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie said a comprehensive review showed there were approximately 11,000 uniformed USA servicemen and women in Afghanistan, compared to the 8,400 number used since past year.

"The Secretary has determined we must simplify our accounting methodology and improve the public's understanding of America's military commitment in Afghanistan", Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Dana White said.

Military officials have long acknowledged that the 8,400 number was always an "approximate" level, saying there was some discrepancy due to troops on short-term deployments and for units overlapping as a new one comes in and an old one goes out.

For the first time ever, the Pentagon has publicly acknowledged that about 1,000 United States troops are placed in Afghanistan, which is higher than the number disclosed in the recent years.

McKenzie, meanwhile, declined to say how many more troops were supposed to be added, noting that US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis "still hasn't made that decision".

Mattis has said that he would wait for a complete count of US troops in Afghanistan before making a decision on how many additional troops to send, calling the accounting system unusual. Unlike Afghanistan, the government in Baghdad is much more sensitive to the size of the U.S. military presence, potentially complicating that accounting process.

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Trump last week revealed his plan to increase U.S. troop numbers in the country, in an about-face from his election campaign promises.

Eleven-thousand troops has been "the reality over the last six months or so", McKenzie said.

"We are reviewing Iraq and Syria and the same guiding principals will govern how we roll out those numbers as well", White said.

Previously disclosed troop numbers did not reflect the extent of the US commitment on the ground since commanders sometimes brought in forces temporarily to get around the Obama-era limits.

"In both theaters, eventually we'll apply the same two pillars: balancing transparency of reporting with a requirement to protect the forces on the ground and give the commander maximum operational flexibility", McKenzie said.

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