Fox News and The Guardian give misleading reports on troop deployments to Afghanistan

Spc. Samuel L. Esposito, a Soldier from 317th Brigade Engineer Batallion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Polk, La., closes the hood on a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle he just finished performing a regular maintenance check on, Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, Jan. 12, 2016. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Hutchison/Released)

Right and left leaning news organizations alike have taken the opportunity to sensationalize a normally scheduled Army battalion’s deployment to Afghanistan.

Based on an article in The Guardian, Fox News reported, “For the first time since combat operations were declared over at the end of 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”

Misleading Fox news article
Screenshot of Fox News article

There is currently elements from an infantry battalion in Helmand province, so this information is misleading and not true.

This morning Army Brig. Gen. Wilson Shoffner, deputy chief of staff for communications for NATO’s Resolute Support Mission said, “I can confirm a U.S. Army Infantry battalion is deploying to Afghanistan. It will replace another U.S. Army battalion of like size that will be departing” in response to questions by CNN’s Barbara Star.

He continued to say, “This is a normal unit scheduled rotation. The incoming battalion will be conducting primarily force protection. Some elements of the battalion will be in Helmand province. Some elements of the battalion that is rotating out are in Helmand province.”

Fox news stated, “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.”

This information is completely false based upon General Shoffner’s statement that the battalion will be replacing another battalion of like size.

Fox News stated the troop deployment “is a sign of military escalation in the country even as the Obama administration tries to draw down” but General Shoffner reinforced the point that the overall number of troops in Afghanistan will not be increased.

This is not the first time Fox News has made mistakes when reporting U.S. Army troop movements. In 2003, Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera was expelled from Iraq for broadcasting details about future U.S. troop movements in the country while he was attached to the 101st Airborne Division.

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