Defense Secretary James Mattis has directed the Pentagon to reverse an Obama-era policy of hiding the real number of American troops serving in Afghanistan.
The previous administration, anxious to prove to the American people that President Obama had pulled troops from the war-torn country, consistently low-balled their reports.
Policies were implemented that prevented troops on “temporary assignment” or those involved in overlap of troop rotations from being counted.
The result? The official count of American troops in Afghanistan jumped from 8,448 to 11,000.
Pentagon just confirmed there are 2600 more US troops in #Afghanistan than previously disclosed: 11,000 vs 8400 includes temp. deployments
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) August 30, 2017
Shifting numbers to deceive the public – a hallmark of the Obama Administration, and an absolute disgrace and insult to the families of our men and women in the military.
The number of U.S. boots actually on the ground in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, and the number officially reported by the military have been two different things for years, the Pentagon acknowledged Wednesday.
The long-standing official number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, or Force Management Level, has been 8,448, but Marine Lt. Gen. Frank McKenzie said for the first time that the actual number in Afghanistan is about 11,000.
The discrepancies on the troop counts, which began under former President Barack Obama and continued into the Trump administration, often resulted in the official number being thousands of troops short of the actual troop strength.
Pentagon Chief Spokeswoman Dana White, at the direction of Mattis, said the Obama method of lying to the American people is coming to an end.
— Jamie McIntyre (@jamiejmcintyre) August 30, 2017
President Obama had sought to drop troop number to about 5,500 in Afghanistan at the end of his last term. But in July of 2016 he announced that 8,400 troops would have to remain because of a ‘precarious security situation in Afghanistan.’
We now know that number was not accurate.
It becomes readily evident why Obama was dishonest about the number of troops – 11,000 would have been double the number that he had promised.
Additionally, the number of troops at that time sat at 9,800, so claiming troop levels would be at 8,400, while higher than he wanted, still represented a slight reduction that he could tout to his base.
The New York Times dutifully reported it as such.
The Pentagon said they will continue to reveal the true troop counts in other countries such as Iraq and Syria.
McKenzie said Mattis wanted the truth out there so he could “let the American people know what their sons and daughters are doing there, how many are there.”
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