The Department of Defense announced today an adjustment to the deployment of the 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division toAfghanistan. The entire brigade will not deploy as previously announced in December 2004; instead one battalion-sized task force consisting of an infantry battalion and attached fire-support, communications and logistics elements will deploy to assist transition of the coalition operations to the NATO International Security Assistance Force in southern Afghanistan in mid 2006. The non-deploying elements of the brigade will remain prepared to deploy within 15 days.
There are nearly 19,000 U.S. troops leading counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan. The decision announced today will bring U.S. force levels in Afghanistan to approximately 16,500.
This adjustment to forces deploying to Afghanistan primarily reflects the growing presence of NATO forces in Afghanistan. Even with this force adjustment, the United States will remain the largest troop and financial contributor to the overall security mission in Afghanistan.
The US will continue to perform counter-terrorism operations and high-quality training and development of the Afghan security forces to ensure a stable and secure Afghanistan. A significant part of the U.S. effort in Afghanistan is training and equipping the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police.
The Afghan National Army is now nearly 27,000 strong and is well respected by both the Afghan people and the Coalition troops operating with them. Additionally, nearly 55,000 Afghan police have been trained and are on the job.
US troop numbers have fluctuated in response to conditions and requirements since OEF began. Any U.S. force adjustments are based on conditions that build on the successes to date, including the success of Afghan elections, the changing nature of the threat, and the growth in capabilities of the Afghan National Security Forces. Commanders will continue to assess the situation on the ground for future force-level adjustments.
For information on the unit announced today, please contact U.S. Central Command public affairs at (813) 827-6390.