- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 6, 2017

In one of his duties as commander-in-chief, President Trump notified Congress Tuesday that the U.S. is deploying about 20,000 troops around the world in counter-terrorism operations.

The bulk of those troops, nearly 8,500, are in Afghanistan, where the president said the U.S. “remains in an armed conflict, including against the Taliban, and active hostilities remain ongoing” after 16 years of warfare.

Mr. Trump is considering a recommendation from the Pentagon to deploy as many as 5,000 more troops to Afghanistan to counter recent gains by the Taliban, the Islamic State and other extremist fighters. The capital of Kabul has been the scene of renewed bombings in recent days, striking targets near key government and diplomatic facilities.

In a letter required by law, the president told congressional leaders that the U.S. counter-terrorism operations “have been successful in seriously degrading al Qaeda’s capabilities.”

“If necessary, in response to terrorist threats, I will direct additional measures to protect United States citizens and interests,” Mr. Trump said. “It is not possible to know at this time the precise scope or the duration of the deployments of U.S. Armed Forces necessary to counter terrorist threats to the United States.”

In Iraq, the U.S. has deployed more than 5,200 troops to advise and assist Iraqi forces in the fight against the Islamic State. In neighboring Syria, the U.S. also has deployed slightly more than 500 troops to fight the Islamic State.

There are about 2,850 U.S. military personnel in Jordan to support counter-ISIS operations and provide regional stability.

In Africa, the U.S. also has deployed nearly 1,000 troops in Niger and Cameroon on counter-terror operations. Another 410 soldiers are in central Africa to help with a regional task force fighting the Lord’s Resistance Army.

The U.S. also has been working with governments on various counter-terror operations in Libya, Yemen and Turkey. And in Kosovo, there are 660 U.S. troops helping to enforce a NATO-led force to maintain security in the region.

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