Defense Secretary Jim Mattis signs orders to send more troops to Afghanistan

President Trump announces Afghanistan strategy in Fort Myer in Arlington Virginia

This comes after US President Donald Trump last week announced his new war strategy but would not reveal the number of troops that would be deployed.

"I have signed orders, but it is not complete", Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.

The announcement does not represent an increase in troops and came after U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis expressed frustration with the method of counting U.S. troops in conflict zones. "It is more advisers, it is more enablers, fire support, for example".

That formula adds 2,600 troops to the current roster of American forces in Afghanistan, and for the first time includes USA troops involved in direct counterterrorism missions under Operation Freedom's Sentinel. He did not provide numbers, however for troop in Iraq and Syria, saying they were "under review". LIkewise in Syria, there is likely close to 1,000 US troops, and not the 503 officially acknowledged.

The Pentagon is now reviewing exact troop levels in Iraq and Syria, but has not said when those revised figures could be announced. "We are simply being more transparent about the way we communicate America's military commitment in Afghanistan, while still protecting sensitive information".

McKenzie said no new U.S. soldiers have started to flow into Afghanistan since Trump announced his decision to increase the United States military's presence in the country.

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White said Mattis made the decision to reexamine the Pentagon's accounting practices of USA troops himself.

The increase could include additional strike rotations from B-52 Stratofortress bombers, F-16 Fighting Falcons fighter jets, and A-10 close-air support mission aircraft, the Post said, citing unnamed sources.

Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that commanders in Iraq and Syria were not happy with having to break up their units just to stay below the force management level.

As for the total number of Americans heading to Afghanistan, "the secretary still hasn't made that decision", McKenzie said.

"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 effect of forcing commanders to make readiness trade-offs", said Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie, joint staff director.

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