Pentagon admits thousands more troops are in Afghanistan than previously disclosed

The Pentagon acknowledged Wednesday that there are thousands more American troops deployed in Afghanistan than repeatedly disclosed.

The number of troops deployed to Afghanistan is actually closer to 11,000, Defense Department spokeswoman Dana White said at a news conference. The Pentagon previously said there were 8,400 troops in Afghanistan under the Obama administration's troop cap.

On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis ordered a change to how the Pentagon accounts for the number of troops serving in Afghanistan. A similar review to obtain accurate numbers of troops is pending for Iraq and Syria.


The estimated 11,000 soldiers in Afghanistan would not include future adjustments that Mattis may make to follow President Trump’s new strategy in South Asia, Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, of the Marine Corps, said.

Military officials have long quietly acknowledged there are more troops in Afghanistan than the previous administration’s troop cap permitted. Commanders shuffled troops in and out, but labeled many as “temporary” and used other personnel accounting tactics to keep the public count artificially low.

The Afghanistan troop announcement comes as the Pentagon reportedly prepares to send close to 4,000 more troops to fight in the war-torn country.

Fox News' Jennifer Griffin and The Associated Press contributed to this report.