The Pentagon will extend the Afghanistan Campaign Medal for troops currently serving there, despite the official end of the 13-year war.

Defense officials said Thursday that the current phase of the Afghanistan War, known as Operation Freedom's Sentinel, is now a qualifying operation for award of the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

The phase of the war known as Operation Enduring Freedom technically ended on Dec. 31. The new mission does not involve U.S. troops in direct combat operations and instead limits their mission to advising and assisting the Afghan forces and potentially some targeted counterterrorism missions.

About 10,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan. The military mission there is slated to end by December 2016.

Service members should contact their military departments for additional information, defense officials said.

Andrew Tilghman is the executive editor for Military Times. He is a former Military Times Pentagon reporter and served as a Middle East correspondent for the Stars and Stripes. Before covering the military, he worked as a reporter for the Houston Chronicle in Texas, the Albany Times Union in New York and The Associated Press in Milwaukee.

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