Deployment of U.S. troops to Afghanistan has been delayed due to ongoing hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico, Joint Staff Director Lieutenant General Kenneth F. McKenzie said on Thursday.
“Forces are flowing to Afghanistan. They have been slightly delayed by ongoing hurricane relief efforts,” McKenzie told reporters. “There is a finite number of transport aircraft the U.S. Transportation Command has.”
The general added that the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is currently “in the vicinity of 11,000.” Washington has pledged some 3,000 additional servicemen. U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis said on Tuesday the troops would provide advisory and fire support to the Afghan military.
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello said during a press conference in San Juan on Thursday that more than 11,000 Defense Department personnel are helping the territory to recover from devastating conscequences of Hurricane Maria.