U.S. President Donald Trump wants to put more U.S. boots on the ground in Afghanistan
. This is a turn-around from his erstwhile position, previously arguing that a pull-out would be the best strategy to quickly end American involvement in a war that has been dragging on for 16 years. Trump didn’t say how many more soldiers he wants deployed to the South Asian hotspot to prop up the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in their fight against the Taliban insurgency. However, observers think 4,000 troops are likely, as this is the figure the Pentagon has asked for.
As the below infographic shows, the United States, which lead throughout the combat mission "Enduring Freedom" and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has pulled out most its troops since the end of ISAF in late 2014. Whereas the number of personnel stood at more than a 100,000 in September 2011, Troop levels have dropped to roughly 13,000 for the last two years, according to the Defense Manpower Data Center
This includes all active duty service personnel from all branches (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force), national guard and reserve, but also civilian employees of the Department of Defense and civillian contractors (APF) – which make up the smallest group.
The U.S. military engagement in Afghanistan is America's longest war. The current NATO-led operation in Afghanistan is called "Resolute Support
" and aims to train and advise the Afghan security forces. Sporadic combat operations are left to special forces. This could change if the additional troops are deployed.