In a Wartime First, Afghan Military Fully on Offensive

All Six Military Corps Are Conducting Offensive Operations

US Defense Secretary James Mattis says that for the first time in the entire US war in Afghanistan, all six Afghan military corps are participating in offensive operations. Saying this is part of a new strategy in the conflict.

US officials have been pushing Afghanistan on this matter throughout the year, suggesting that because Afghan forces have proven unable to stop the Taliban in defensive operations they should try to attack instead.

The problem with this is it puts Afghanistan’s already shaky defense on an even shakier footing, and while they may be able to chase the Taliban out of areas that they are attacking, the Taliban is likely to make even faster progress in their own offensives elsewhere in the country.

Afghanistan has lost a lot of territory to the Taliban in recent years, and holds less territory now than at any time during the war. While on paper the Afghan military is quite large, high desertion rates and the “ghost soldier” problem with many troops existing only on paper to collect salaries have meant their fighting capacity has been inconsistent, to say the least.

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.