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US Army to send 500 infantrymen to southern Afghanistan's Helmand Province 31102163.

| 2016
Defence & Security News - United States
 US Army to send 500 infantrymen to southern Afghanistan's Helmand Province
This is the largest deployment of US troops outside major bases in Afghanistan since the end of the Nato combat mission in 2014. A battalion of 500 U.S. Army infantrymen is being sent to southern Afghanistan’s volatile Helmand Province where the Taliban have made a comeback, Fox News reported.
US Army to send 500 infantrymen to southern Afghanistan s Helmand Province 640 001US infrantry in Helmand, Afghanistan, 2014.
The decision, confirmed by defense officials, is a sign of military escalation in the country even as the Obama administration tries to draw down.

The battalion is meant to relieve a company of 150 soldiers, giving the U.S. Army nearly 350 more soldiers to prevent the Taliban from taking over volatile Helmand province. The Army’s 2-87 infantry battalion, part of the 10th Mountain Division based at Ft. Drum, N.Y., was scheduled to deploy to Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan this winter -- but instead will be sent to Helmand, according to defense officials familiar with the order.

The additional soldiers will provide increased “force protection” for a team of special operations forces training and advising the Afghan Army’s 215th Corps, which has suffered from desertions and poor leadership, according to the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

The 500 soldiers will not increase the overall number of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. That number will remain at 9,800, according to defense officials.

A spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan says the new Army troops will not “participate in combat operations.”

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