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Attrition Drives Afghan Security Force Levels to 3-Year Low - US Watchdog

Sputnik News

03:53 04.03.2015(updated 04:18 04.03.2015)

US Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction reported that turnover continues to plague the Afghan National Security Forces, driving troop strength to its lowest levels since 2011.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Turnover continues to plague the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), driving troop strength to its lowest levels since 2011, just as the United States completes withdrawing its combat personnel, according to a US Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) report.

"Attrition continues to be a major challenge for the ANSF. The Afghan National Army (ANA) has declined by 15,636 (or 8.5 percent) since February 2014 to 169,203 personnel, the lowest assigned ANA force strength since August 2011," SIGAR said in the report on Tuesday.

More than 40,000 personnel fell off the ANA payroll between September 2013 and September 2014, according to watchdog report.

Meanwhile, the Afghan army suffered serious combat losses, including more than 1,300 killed and 6,200 wounded during the same period.

SIGAR also reported that the US military submitted incorrect ANSF troop level figures between April and October 2014, due to an accounting error, which it attributed to "long-standing and ongoing problems with accountability and personnel tracking."

Large quarterly fluctuations in ANA numbers were detected, according to the report, "sometimes 20,000 personnel or more, without supporting documentation for the sudden change."

Accuracy is necessary to assess Afghanistan's ability to maintain security, determine the pace of US troop withdrawal and ensure appropriate levels are being invested in training and equipping the ANSF, the report concluded.

Since 2002, SIGAR has identified billions in US taxpayer dollars wasted on reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, including on a failed war on opium, unused transport planes, poorly-designed prison facilities, contractor fraud and government corruption.

On December 31, 2014, the US ended the combat mission in Afghanistan that began in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.

The US military will train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces in its new mission called Resolute Support. Approximately 13,500 NATO soldiers, mostly from the United States, will remain in Afghanistan.


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