Afghan Police Deaths Soaring, Officials Admit

Gen. Dunford: Death Tolls 'Unsustainable' for Afghan Forces

by Jason Ditz, September 02, 2013

The Afghan government doesn’t release official troop death tolls anymore – the figures are just too depressing and officials said they didn’t want to damage morale. Today, however, newly appointed Interior Minister Umer Daudzai revealed that 1,792 Afghan national police have been killed in the last six months.

Though the exact scope of the trend is impossible to determine without all the past data available, Daudzai conceded that this was roughly in line with the overtoll toll of the previous 12 month period.

That’s a big jump, and reflects the huge surge in violence in this year’s “spring offensive” by the Taliban, along with the insurgency’s renewed focus on targeting government security forces as NATO targets are less and less visible targets.

Individual reports suggest the Afghan army is faring no better than the police, and Gen. Joseph Dunford, the US commander for the occupied nation, warns that the Afghan forces are losing troops at an “unsustainable” level, arguing that NATO needs to commit to the war for years to come.

Dead and wounded Afghan forces are just part of the equation too, as the Afghan military in particular, owing to its dangerous missions and extremely low rate of pay, is losing huge numbers of fighters regularly to desertion, and is having a hard time recruiting replacements for them. The casualties lower troop levels directly, but as they rise, so will the number of troops convinced they’re on the losing side.

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