More US Troops Heading to Afghanistan

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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, to the right of the podium, is joined by top U.S. and Afghan military leaders for the launch of the Afghan Army’s new special operations corp on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017, at Camp Morehead, a training base southeast of Kabul. (AP Photo/Lolita Baldor)
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Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, left, walks with Dana White, the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, before speaking at the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental in Mountain View, Calif., Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017. Not backing down, President Donald Trump warned Kim Jong Un's government on Thursday to "get their act together" or face extraordinary trouble, and suggested his earlier threat to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea was too mild. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, left, walks with Dana White, the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, before speaking at the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental in Mountain View, Calif., Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017. Not backing down, President Donald Trump warned Kim Jong Un’s government on Thursday to “get their act together” or face extraordinary trouble, and suggested his earlier threat to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea was too mild. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

The Pentagon has begun sending additional troops to Afghanistan to carry out President Donald Trump’s new war strategy, which will stick to his predecessor’s approach of supporting the Afghans’ fight against the Taliban rather than doing the fighting for them, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday.

“Yes, I’ve signed orders, but it’s not complete,” Mattis told reporters in an impromptu news conference at the Pentagon.

He would not say how many additional troops are deploying or what their exact roles will be. Trump’s decision to deepen the American military commitment was taken after months of debate within the administration over whether the risk was worth the potential reward of eventually stabilizing Afghanistan to the point where its own forces can prevent a Taliban takeover and contain other militant threats. Mattis stressed that Afghan forces will remain in the lead, with the extra U.S. troops taking a support role.

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