Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The U.S. Will Primarily Deploy Thousands Of Paratroopers And More Air Support To Afghanistan

United States Army soldiers from the Second Battalion, 87th Infantry oversaw training of the 215th Corps of the Afghan National Army at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province last year. Credit Adam Ferguson for The New York Times

Washington Post: Afghan troop surge likely to include thousands of paratroopers, Marines and heavy bombers

The bulk of the roughly 4,000 additional troops headed to Afghanistan will probably be composed of thousands of paratroopers from two units — the 82nd Airborne Division and an airborne brigade from the 25th Infantry Division, according to U.S. officials.

More air support — in the form of more F-16 fighters, A-10 ground attack aircraft and additional B-52 bomber support, or a combination of all three — is also probably on the way, according to a U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss plans that had not yet been made public. The B-52s will remain based in Qatar but will be tasked to cover Afghanistan.

Small Marine artillery detachments, composed of about 100 or so troops per unit, will be spread around the country to fill in gaps in air support, the official said.

The preparations come as the Pentagon announced Wednesday that it is altering how it counts the number of troops in Afghanistan to include all service members who are on temporary assignments and working for combat support agencies that did not count against the “force management levels” disclosed previously. The Pentagon has said for months that about 8,400 troops are in Afghanistan, but the actual “total force” number is closer to 11,000, said Marine Lt. Gen. Frank McKenzie, the director of the Joint Staff.

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WNU Editor: Greater air and artillery support .... with less restrictive rules of engagement ....will  have an impact on the battlefield. The question is .... will it be enough? My guess is no.

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