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Mattis Says Most 3,000 Additional U.S. Troops 'On Their Way' To Afghanistan

FILE: U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis looks on during a bilateral meeting with South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-Moo at the Pentagon in August.

Most of the 3,000 additional troops the United States is deploying to Afghanistan are on their way, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on September 18.

U.S. President Donald Trump last month announced a new Afghanistan strategy, which he said was aimed at defeating the Taliban, who continue to mount deadly attacks, control large areas, and kill thousands of Afghan servicemen and civilians after nearly 16 years of war.

Mattis told Pentagon reporters that he didn't want to give precise numbers but said he was sending "over 3,000" troops to Afghanistan, where they will bolster the approximately 11,000 American forces already there.

"Most of them are on their way or under orders now, and I'd prefer not to give any more information that helps the enemy," he said.

Defense officials say the president's new strategy for Afghanistan will try to repeat the success of U.S. efforts over the past two years to strengthen Iraqi security forces against the extremist Islamic State group with better training, logistical support, and the battlefield backup of U.S. artillery and air strikes on enemy positions.

The United States is also pressing for NATO partners to increase their own troop levels in Afghanistan.

Based on reporting by AFP, dpa, and Reuters

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