A new Pentagon report delivered to Congress today, misleadingly titled “Enhancing security and stability in Afghanistan,” offered the grimmest official assessment yet of the 14+ year Afghan War, revealing that security is deteriorating at an alarming pace, and stability is going along with it.
Though most of these reports have historically tried to put a silver lining on all the terrible metrics, this reported appeared a lot more straightforward, conceding a 27 percent increase in casualties among Afghan troops year-over-year because of growing fighting with the Taliban.
That’s a huge problem in Afghanistan, where their massive military is constantly facing large attrition from desertions, and struggles to recruit replacement soldiers who are liable to last beyond their first couple of paychecks.
But the even bigger problem may be losing Kunduz for weeks on end, and ceding considerable territory in Helmand to an ongoing Taliban, with the report warning the Taliban is “fostering the impression that the ANDSF cannot control key population centers.”
Though the report followed this up with upbeat talk about President Ashraf Ghani’s attempts to address “challenges” in the military, the ever-worsening situation increasingly makes it seem that the best Ghani can hope for is to slow the rate of collapse of their security forces.