Many Afghan Troops Run Away While in US to Train

152 Afghan Troops Have Gone AWOL, 83 Never Found

A new report from the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction warns that the US efforts to bring Afghan troops to America for training have been greatly undermined by the “unacceptably high” number of Afghan troops who run away as soon as they arrive.

Some 13% of Afghan trainees go missing, with the majority of them junior officers. 152 Afghan trainees have gone AWOL in the course of this operation, and more than half, 83 of them, have never been found.

SIGAR warns the missing troops are bad for morale of the troops that stay for the training, and also for Afghan military units inside Afghanistan. He also warned the number may continue to rise, as mounting violence makes it easier for Afghans to seek asylum.

Many of the asylum seekers are fleeing into Canada, believing it is a safe place to seek sanctuary from being arrested for fleeing the military. Since many are able to credibly cite safety concerns, including Taliban threats to relatives, such claims of sanctuary have been pretty successful.

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.