US Commander: Casualties in Afghan Military Not Sustainable

Soaring Fatalities From Taliban Fight Can't Be Replaced

The massive Afghan military has long struggled with mass desertions and low quality recruitment, making it hard to keep their numbers up. As they’ve been brought deeper into the fighting, they’ve got another problem with casualties.

US Army commander in Afghanistan Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson warned today that the increased casualty rate is unsustainable for the Afghan military. Recruiting simply isn’t keeping up.

And that’s not an easy fix. The Afghan military doesn’t pay recruits well, and while the planned deserters were joining up in the hopes of running off with paychecks and potentially a bit of looted equipment, the danger of getting killed in combat has many convinced it’s not worth the risk.

The influx of raw recruits wouldn’t solve all of the problems at any rate, as NATO has struggled to train them to anything resembling a level of competence in fighting, and is always pushing the unready recruits out as cannon fodder for the endless war.

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.