Thursday, January 24, 2013

Afghan Army Losses Spike

The Afghan army held the country together for a number of years after the Soviets bailed out but it's far from clear they'll do as well after Western forces leave next year.

The Taliban have killed 1,100 members of the Afghan security forces over the past six months, double the previous rate, and desertions, a chronic problem, are also increasing.

Phillip Hammond,  the British "defence secretary, admitted there had been a doubling of casualties among Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) over the past year, as well as spikes in desertion rates from the army.

"The previously classified figures were given to the Ministry of Defence by commanders at Nato's International Security and Assistance Force (Isaf) to help Hammond and Lieutenant General Richard Barrons prepare for questions from MPs.

"Asked about Afghan casualties, Hammond said the evidence pointed to a sharp increase.

"'We have to enter caveats about the quality of data and baseline data, but as the Afghans have taken over the leading role in security, clearly their casualties have gone up very significantly. Possibly they have doubled over the last year or so."

"Barrons said the ANSF had suffered badly from attacks by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the past six months. Without the same medical and logistical support of western forces, the Afghans had been hit hard, he said."

An article in this month's edition of Harper's magazine reveals that the Afghan capital, Kabul, and other major cities are poised for an economic collapse when Western money dries up.

The costs of maintaining the Afghan army and National Police far exceed the government's total revenues.   The Afghan government will require billions of dollars in foreign support every year just to cover those salaries and with an economy teetering on collapse it will become increasingly harder for the West to prop up the central government.

At this point there's no sign that the Pentagon or NATO has any plan to keep the Afghan state from falling.   A dozen years of wasted lives, treasure and effort.

No comments: