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Afghanistan war: Trump's allies and troop numbers

American troops in Afghanistan Image copyright AFP/Getty

After months of speculation about how President Trump would approach Afghanistan, his new strategy for America's longest running war scrapped deadlines for withdrawal and didn't include any commitments on troop numbers.

He did, though, give the green light to sending more US troops to Afghanistan.

So Reality Check decided to look into which countries have a military presence in Afghanistan and how numbers have changed over the course of nearly 16 years of armed conflict.

Of any foreign country, the US has deployed by far the largest number of troops.

The majority of the American servicemen and women work with the Nato mission "Resolute Support", which comprises troops from 39 nations (full list at the end of this article), to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces.

A recent official figure put the total number of troops involved in Resolute Support at 13,576.

The sizeable number of US troops not deployed with the Nato mission conduct counter-terrorism operations.

The Nato combat mission, which numbered more than 130,000 in 2011, ended in December 2014.

Some of the wealthiest Nato members, like France and Canada, no longer contribute troops. During a violent part of the war in 2011, with troop levels at their peak, the UK had 9,500 troops in the country. It now has 500 in support of the Nato train-and-assist mission.

But over the last year, the Taliban has made significant territorial gains and security incidents have reached their highest level since 2007.

In February, Gen John Nicholson, senior commander of US forces in Afghanistan, told a senate committee that there was a shortfall of a few thousand troops needed to help break the "stalemate".

Although President Trump did not reveal exactly how many more military personnel might be deployed, it is thought around 4,000 may be added to the roughly 8,300 currently there.

Even with an additional few thousand, US troop numbers are significantly down on recent years.

The Taliban government was toppled less than two months after the war began in October 2001 and the US military declared an end to major combat in May 2003.

However the new Afghan government struggled to establish control and Taliban fighters regrouped.

President Obama announced an additional 30,000 troops in 2009 and by 2011 there were 100,000 US troops in the country. Numbers dropped back again after the US surge.

Full list of countries and number of troops involved in the Nato mission in Afghanistan:

Albania - 83

Armenia - 121

Australia - 270

Austria - 10

Azerbaijan - 94

Belgium - 62

Bosnia-Herzegovina - 55

Bulgaria - 92

Croatia - 95

Czech Republic - 223

Denmark - 97

Estonia - 4

Finland - 29

Georgia - 872

Germany - 980

Greece - 4

Hungary - 90

Iceland - 2

Italy - 1,037

Latvia - 22

Lithuania - 21

Luxembourg - 1

Mongolia - 120

Montenegro - 18

Netherlands - 100

New Zealand - 10

Norway - 42

Poland - 198

Portugal - 10

Romania - 587

Slovakia - 38

Slovenia - 7

Spain - 8

Sweden - 25

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - 139

Turkey - 659

Ukraine - 10

United Kingdom - 500

United States - 6,941

Total 13,576

[Source: Nato]


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