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A soldier assigned to the 3rd Cavalry Regiment prepares to start convoy operations at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif., Feb. 12, 2016. About 1,000 Fort Hood soldiers will deploy in the coming months to Afghanistan in a regular rotation of troops to train Afghan forces.

A soldier assigned to the 3rd Cavalry Regiment prepares to start convoy operations at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif., Feb. 12, 2016. About 1,000 Fort Hood soldiers will deploy in the coming months to Afghanistan in a regular rotation of troops to train Afghan forces. (Joshua Wooten/U.S. Army)

WASHINGTON — About 1,000 Fort Hood soldiers will deploy in the coming months to Afghanistan in a regular rotation of troops to train Afghan forces, the Army announced Wednesday.

About 1/4 of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment will deploy this spring to eastern Afghanistan to support Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, the United States’ continuing mission to train and advise the Afghan National Security Forces in their fight against the Taliban and other insurgent networks.

The regiment, which is overseen by Fort Hood’s 1st Cavalry Division, is largely comprised of riflemen who operate while mounted on armored Stryker vehicles.

The deployment comes as the United States considers its future force in the country where it has been at war for nearly 15 years. About 9,800 American troops remain in Afghanistan. Under the current plan that number is expected to drop to 5,500 at the end of 2016.

Top American commanders have said the United States must maintain its commitment to the security of Afghanistan. Army Gen. John F. Campbell, who ended his tenure Wednesday as the top U.S. general in Afghanistan, last month told Congress that American troops should remain in the country for at least five years. His successor, Army Gen. John W. “Mick” Nicholson, has said he would make a recommendation to President Barack Obama on the ideal troop strength within the next 90 days.

The 1,000 Fort Hood soldiers scheduled to deploy will replace troops scheduled to leave Afghanistan, said Lt. Col. Sunset Belinsky, a spokeswoman for the 1st Cavalry Division. It was not immediately clear which unit or units the 3rd Cavalry Regiment would replace.

It will be a quick return to Afghanistan for the regiment, which returned from a nine-month tour there about a year ago. The upcoming rotation is also expected to last about nine months.

The unit is in the final days of completing a training rotation at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., Belinsky said. Soldiers spent about one month at the Mojave Desert training grounds preparing for their deployment.

dickstein.corey@stripes.com Twitter: @CDicksteinDC

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Corey Dickstein covers the military in the U.S. southeast. He joined the Stars and Stripes staff in 2015 and covered the Pentagon for more than five years. He previously covered the military for the Savannah Morning News in Georgia. Dickstein holds a journalism degree from Georgia College & State University and has been recognized with several national and regional awards for his reporting and photography. He is based in Atlanta.
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