Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie, Pentagon joint staff director, confirmed the higher-than-previously disclosed force strength in a press conference on Wednesday.
U.S. General McKenzie said there were approximately 11,000 uniformed US servicemen and women in Afghanistan, not the roughly 8,400 announced last year.
He asserted that the number was the outcome of a comprehensive review of the forces.
McKenzie, meanwhile, declined to say how many more troops were supposed to be added, noting that US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis “still hasn’t made that decision.”
“No troops have started to flow… no deployment orders have been issued,” General McKenzie asserted.
Pentagon spokeswoman Dana W. White and Gen. McKenzie blamed the significant undercount on head-counting rules the Obama administration had devised.
The Obama-era policies did not include troops deployed for less than six-months — a stint the military considers a “temporary basis” — as part of the military’s total for Afghanistan.
Because the Obama administration had set caps on the number of troops allowed to be deployed to active war zones in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, U.S. commanders found ways to supplement their forces by “temporarily” adding additional troops who would not be counted.