Pentagon Wants US Troops in Afghanistan Closer to Front Lines

Escalation Involves Redefining 'Advisory' Operations

In among the Pentagon plans of sending 3,000 to 5,000 more US ground troops into Afghanistan, they are also looking at getting future unilateral control over US troop levels in the country. Even that isn’t the end of it, as reports today have them redefining the US “advisory” mission to put the troops closer to the front lines.

By way of presenting the 16-year-long US occupation of Afghanistan as something less than it was a decade ago, US officials have presented their deployments as “non-combat” in nature. The US forces are currently deployed to advise at the corps level, keeping them mostly a bit removed from actual combat situations.

That’s about to change, however, with the plans now looking for US “advisors” to be deployed into much smaller troop levels, meaning they’d be right on the front lines with Afghan forces, and fight in the middle of combat situations, despite being nominally “non-combat.”

This tactic has similarly been used in Iraq and Syria, as US troops in both countries are exclusively defined as non-combat, irrespective of the amount of combat they get into. With Afghan forces losing ground by the day in fighting against the Taliban, the Pentagon is increasingly desperate to get direct involvement happening, and in the least public way possible.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of