Pentagon hasn't finalized Afghanistan troop numbers

Pakistan is in contact with US through various channels FO

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis "still hasn't made that decision", he said, adding: "No troops have started to flow... no deployment orders have been issued".

Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the director of the staff of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said that thousands of American troops were sent to Afghanistan under President Donald Trump's new strategy to conduct the war effort there.

"There's a very odd accounting procedure I inherited", Mattis told reporters last week. Unlike Afghanistan, the government in Baghdad is much more sensitive to the size of the U.S. military presence, potentially complicating that accounting process.

"The Obama administration did not shoot straight on how many people they sent to Afghanistan, which added cost to the mission and made it harder to succeed".

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The 8,400 "force management level" was set by the previous administration, which also used the previous accounting system.

While the Pentagon said the move was a step in increasing transparency, it did not provide counts of US troops in Iraq and Syria. Military commanders would be able to work around the cap by bringing in forces for short periods.

The 8,400 number did not include troops on temporary assignment, according to the Pentagon.

On Iraq and Syria, Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said accounting for troop numbers was still under review.

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As per the Defense officials, the numbers are expected to rise by close to another 4,000 troops.

The new estimate came almost two weeks after Trump and his top cabinet and military officials chose to increase USA soldiers and airmen in Afghanistan to put more pressure on the Taliban and other extremist groups.

USA generals have for months been calling the situation in Afghanistan a "stalemate", despite years of support for Afghan partners and an overall cost to the United States of about $1 trillion.

The force levels, which are officially at 5,262 in Iraq and 503 in Syria, are believed by US officials to be more than a couple of thousands troops shy of the actual number of USA forces in both countries. The remainder of United States forces in Afghanistan carry out counterterrorism missions in the country.

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