State News

Soldiers from Fort Bragg make up bulk of US surge in Afghanistan

Posted September 21, 2017 12:37 p.m. EDT
Updated September 21, 2017 5:17 p.m. EDT

— More than 2,000 soldiers are deploying from Fort Bragg to Afghanistan, joining 1,500 soldiers sent there earlier this year.

The members of the 1st Brigade Combat Team have been leaving in groups over the course of the past week. They are part of a troop surge of more than 3,000 soldiers who will join the 10,000 military personnel already serving in the country.

President Donald Trump met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the United Nations Thursday and spoke of the danger of Afghanistan becoming a terrorist breeding ground without a more robust U.S. presence.

"You have 20 groups – more than any place else – it's really a hornets' nest from that standpoint," Trump said. "We are hitting them very, very hard and very, very effectively, and we really have no choice but to do it."

Fort Bragg soldiers are stationed throughout the country and have a variety of missions, including training, advising and assisting Afghan military personnel as well as providing security for other U.S. forces in the country.

"I think it's important to understand that the Afghan soldiers are doing the fighting," Trump said. "We're training, and we're working with them very closely, but it's the Afghans that are doing the fighting."

The troops received little advance notice of the deployment, but with the war in Afghanistan going on for more than 16 years, they said it wasn't a surprise.

"We were directed to provide additional forces in Afghanistan, and as always, we stand ready to provide combat power on short notice," Maj. Gen. Erik Kurilla, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, told the Fayetteville Observer.

The latest deployment is expected to last six to seven months.

Members of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team returned to the post this week from Iraq, Kuwait and Syria after a nine-month deployment.

Other Fort Bragg troops have been dispatched to Texas, Florida and the Caribbean in recent weeks to help recovery efforts following hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.