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1,400 airborne US troops set for deployment to Afghanistan

ausKABUL: About 1,400 soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), at Fort Campbell will deploy to Afghanistan to participate in counter-terrorism operations, the US army has announced.

The Rakkasans from 3rd Brigade Combat Team will deploy this fall to back US operation against the remnants of Al-Qaeda, Islamic State (Daesh) and other terror groups, a statement from the army said.

Brig. Gen. Scott E. Brower, 101st Airborne’s commander, said: “The soldiers of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team have been nothing short of exceptional while supporting operations in Afghanistan over the years.

“The Rakkasans are trained, well-ledand prepared to accomplish any mission given to them while supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel,” the commander was quoted as saying.

As part of a regular troop rotation, the Rakkasans returned from the conflict-devastated country in October 2015 after serving for a nine-month rotation in easternAfghanistan, focused on training the Afghan National Army’s 201st and 203rd Corps.

The unit will deploy under the command of the 101st airborne commanding officer, Major General Gary Volesky. This will be the fifth deployment of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team to Afghanistan.

The Congress has appropriated more than $68 billion over the past 14 yearsto train, equipand pay the salaries of up to 352,000 soldiers and police in in the ANSDF, as well as 30,000 Afghan Local Police (ALP) personnel.

The deployment announcement comes amid continued violence across Afghanistan. TheTaliban carried out twin bombings near the country’s defense ministry on Monday, killing at least 35. Later Monday, a third bombing preceded an hours-long siege at an office run by the aid group CARE International, which was also claimed by the Taliban.

In a December, 2007 file photo, soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and move toward an objective while searching for detonation cord after an improvised explosive device detonated near a bridge in Iskandariyah, Iraq. <Br>U.S. Army

101st Airborne soldiers tapped to fight Islamic State group

Late last month, the U.S. military sent about 100 troops to bolster its training mission in the troubled Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan, as the Taliban threatened the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah. An American Green Beret, Staff Sgt. Matthew V. Thompson, was killed there Aug. 23 in an improvised explosive device blast.

Afghan police and military forces have struggled to maintain security in several parts of Afghanistan since President Barack Obama declared the U.S. military’s combat mission over at the end of 2014. There are currently about 10,000 American troops serving in Afghanistan in support of both Freedom’s Sentinel and the NATO-led Resolute Support mission, focused solely on training Afghan security forces. The United States will draw down to force strength of 8,400 by the end of this year, Obama announced in July, leaving future troop level decisions to his successor. -Pajhwok


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