Mattis Undecided on Number of Extra US Troops Heading to Afghanistan

Mattis Promises 'Broader Approach' in War But Offers No Details

Fresh off a President Trump’s announced escalation of the Afghan War, Defense Secretary James Mattis has revealed that he has yet to decide on the number of additional US troops to ask for. The expectation is that the size of this deployment won’t be made public.

With Trump’s decision to keep war plans and troop figures secret, the commitment to escalation in the speech appears to have set the stage for a substantial buildup. It’s not clear, however, that the deployment will all come at once.

Before Trump’s speech, reports from White House sources were that 4,000 additional troops would be committed. Senior officials are also saying today that a deployment of around 3,900 is imminent, suggesting Mattis’ decision is on troops to be sent above and beyond that initial figure

Mattis also said that the war itself would be fought with a “broader approach” than under past administrations. As with other comments on the escalation, this didn’t come with a lot of explanation about what that actually means, and in all likelihood, the American public will be kept in the dark about much of it.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of