>> Fight.>> As the US prepares to up its troop count in Afghanistan, the Pentagon is coming clean on the number of its soldiers actually serving in the country. Washington admitting on Wednesday that that number is 11,000, significantly more than what it said publicly in the past.>> To be clear, this is not an announcement of a troop increase.
We are simply being more transparent about the way we communicate America's military commitment in Afghanistan while still protecting sensitive information.>> Previously defense officials had said they were only around 8,400 troops in the country under a cap set by the Obama Administration. The commanders have been using loopholes to try and scout the restrictions including bringing in temporary forces.
Officials say the announcement came only after defense secretary Jim Mattis got frustrated with the system to count US troops in combat zones. Saying he wants a complete head count before making any decision on how many more troops will be sent under Donald Trump's fight to win plan. According to the Pentagon,Mattis also had the troop numbers in Syria and Iraq under review.
U.S officials suggesting there could be more than 2,000 soldiers in each country beyond the numbers issued to the public. For now, though, both of those head counts remain classified. Authorities say, in Iraq at least the US presence is politically sensitive, trumping any need for transparency with the American public.