Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary James Mattis confirmed that the US is adjusting tactics for its troops in Afghanistan in reaction to rising casualties being suffered by the Afghan military in attacks by the Taliban.
Mattis declined to provide any specifics on how their policy was changing, but said that the US would be “bringing more support in certain areas” to try to ease the pressure on the Afghan security forces.
According to the Afghan Defense Ministry, casualties are a growing problem, with 513 soldiers from the Afghan National Army killed in just the last month. Another 718 were wounded and 43 more were captured outright by insurgents.
And while Afghan officials maintain that they’re killing a larger number of Taliban, this may not matter, both in that there is no way to confirm the Afghan casualties, and that the Afghan military’s size is vastly overstated, with estimates that as many as a third of Afghan soldiers exist only on paper.