A U.S. Marine from the First Battalion Eighth Marines Alpha Company looks out as an evening storm gathers above an outpost near Kunjak in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province, Feb. 22, 2011. 
Photo by Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters

Answers to your questions about US forces in Afghanistan

On Thursday, President Obama announced that 9,800 U.S. troops would be staying in Afghanistan through 2016, and then forces will be reduced to 5,500 soldiers beyond 2016.

According to Google, these are the questions people were searching most frequently on Google related to the troop withdrawal news. Wondering what this means for the troops and the military? We’ve got you covered – here are answers to the most-Googled questions about the U.S. forces in Afghanistan. 

1. Does troop withdrawal from Afghanistan have an impact on the military?

Yes; prior to this announcement, troops were expected to withdraw from Afghanistan and return home by 2016. Now, the troops that are currently in Afghanistan will be staying there through most of 2016; and some will even stay past 2016. So for those members of the military already there, it means extending their service in Afghanistan.

2. How many innocents have died in Afghanistan?

According to a report from Brown University, as of March 2015, approximately 92,000 people have been killed in the Afghanistan war since 2001. More than 26,000 of those killed have been Afghan civilians.  

3. How many troops were in Iraq?

As of June 2015, there were approximately 3,550 troops in Iraq, according to The New York Times. U.S. troop levels in Iraq reached a peak of 157,800 in 2008 and troops were withdrawn from Iraq by 2011. Some additional troops were deployed to Iraq in 2014 to help fight ISIS. 

4. Why are troops being kept in Afghanistan?

In his announcement, President Obama said that the situation on the ground in Afghanistan  was “still very fragile, and in some places there is a risk of deterioration.” There has been new aggression by the Taliban, efforts to move ISIS into the country, and more, and local security forces have struggled to defend themselves. President Obama described keeping troops in Afghanistan as “the right thing to do,” and said “As commander-in-chief, I will not allow Afghanistan to be used as safe haven for terrorists to attack our nation again.”

5. How many soldiers in Afghanistan right now?

There are currently 9,800 U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Those 9,800 will stay through the end of 2016.

Afghanistan

Answers to your questions about US forces in Afghanistan