Officials: US has 1,000 more troops in Afghanistan than it disclosed – Times of India

KABUL: Facing a high-stakes choice and running out of time to make it, the Biden administration is wrestling with whether to follow through with a full withdrawal in the next seven weeks of the 2,500 American troops still in Afghanistan — except, as it turns out, that number is actually around 3,500. The US has about 1,000 more troops in Afghanistan than it has disclosed, according to US, European and Afghan officials. That adds another layer of complexity to the swirling debate at the White House over whether to stick with a deal, struck by the Trump administration and the Taliban, that calls for removing the remaining American forces by May 1.
A thousand troops may seem like a small number, but the scope of the US presence has become a contentious issue in Afghanistan — where the Taliban want the Americans gone, while the government’s beleaguered security forces rely on US air support. The cloudy accounting around the troop numbers results from some Special Operations forces having been put “off the books,” according to a senior US official, as well as the presence of some temporary and transitioning units. Having more troops in a country than the defence department officially acknowledges is common practice.

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