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Pentagon asks Congress to limit Afghanistan trips

(Last Updated On: May 7, 2016)

pentagonThe Pentagon has asked Congress to limit official travel to Afghanistan during a new fighting season so helicopters and other support would be available for military use rather than to transport lawmakers, a senior military official said Friday.

Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter asked that travel be limited to committee chairmen, ranking members and congressional leadership, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the request.

The official said it was not unusual to ask members to limit travel so that resources such as helicopters are available for transporting American troops in Afghanistan. Similar requests have been made in the past in advance of a new fighting season.

Fighting in Afghanistan traditionally intensifies in the spring and summer when snows melt and mountain roads are passable.

The United States currently has about 10,000 troops in Afghanistan who are serving primarily as advisers to Afghan’s military, which has assumed the main responsibility for battling the Taliban.

The new top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. John Nicholson, has been asked to make a recommendation that will go to the White House to help determine the pace of future troop drawdowns.

Afghan security forces, meanwhile, liberated 60 prisoners from a Taliban-run prison in southern Afghanistan, according to a statement from the coalition command in Kabul.

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