National Security

Report: U.S. to Send 4,000 Additional Troops to Afghanistan

Deployment would bring total number of American forces to 12,500

U.S. Army soldiers salute at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan / Getty

The Pentagon will deploy nearly 4,000 additional troops to Afghanistan in an attempt to break a months-long stalemate there, according to a Trump administration official.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to announced the decision as early as next week, the Associated Press reported Friday. The report comes two days after President Donald Trump granted Mattis the authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan.

The anticipated deployment increases the number of American personnel officially deployed in Afghanistan from 8,500 to roughly 12,500. The added forces will contribute to the fight against a resurgent Taliban and the increased threat of Islamic State militants.

The majority of the added troops will train and advise Afghan military forces while a smaller number will contribute to counterterror missions against the Taliban and ISIS.

White House officials have been weighing the deployment of 3,000 to 5,000 more troops to Afghanistan since March, but the president has yet to announce an official decision.

Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, told lawmakers in February that he needed a surge of a "few thousand" troops to break an impasse in the U.S.-led mission. Mattis doubled down on this assessment, telling lawmakers Tuesday the U.S. is "not winning" the 16-year war.

The administration has come under mounting pressure from lawmakers to provide an updated strategy for the drawn-out war, particularly amid escalated terrorist attacks in Kabul.

Mattis said he expected to deliver a new strategy to lawmakers by next month.