US Watchdog: Afghan Military Shrinking

Pentagon Claims of Meeting Recruitment Goal Untrue

Though the Pentagon’s own report claimed the October 2012 goal of getting the Afghan military up to 352,000 members was met, a new report today from the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) confirms that they didn’t.

The new report says that not only did the Afghan military not reach its goal, but it is actually getting smaller, shrinking by 4,000 troops from March 2012 to February of this year.

SIGAR says that oversight is making it difficult to even tell how big the Afghan military is at any given time, but the high levels of attrition that have been a problem for years seem to be at the point now where troops are quitting faster than they can find new ones.

This may reflect the efforts to make the Afghan forces take more front-line responsibility in the ongoing war, with spiking casualty tolls perhaps scaring off the recruits that used to show up for a paycheck or two and then disappear before seeing any real combat.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.