No 'stealth 'deployment of 13,000 troops, says Pentagon
A report this morning in the Washington Post about President Obama's quiet deployment of an additional 13,000 troops into Afghanistan is being challenged by the Pentagon.
According to Pentagon sources the 13,000 had been accounted for earlier in a report from Obama; hence, there has been no stealth and no secrecy of deployment.
The Pentagon says a Washington Post story claiming it is making an "unannounced" deployment of 13,000 additional troops to Afghanistan is inaccurate.
A Pentagon spokesman, Colonel Dave Lapan, says the Post story itself notes that the 13,000 support troops are within the overall maximum authorized by President Barack Obama earlier this year.
"The story confirms that 68,000 is still the number. So nothing is missing. Nothing is hidden. The 13,000 doesn't somehow increase from 68 [thousand] to above that. So we've consistently said by the end of the year, on the current glide path, 68,000. And as the story acknowledges, that's where we'll be," said Lapan.
He explains, as Pentagon officials have in the past, that the deployment of major combat or training units always requires the deployment of additional support troops. The support troops perform a variety of functions such as mine clearance, equipment servicing, construction, air support, medical services and many others.
When President Obama took office in January, there were about 34,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Within weeks, he approved a Pentagon request for an additional 21,000 combat and training troops, plus support units. Shortly afterward, officials made public that the support troops would number up to 13,000, bringing the overall total to 68,000 by the end of the year -- a doubling of the deployment from when he took office. The 68,000 figure has been widely reported ever since.