In his latest comments to reporters, US Central Commander Gen. Joseph Votel confirmed that the Afghan military and police and facing increasingly high numbers of battlefield casualties, following what he termed a “difficult and bloody summer.”
This has been well-documented in recent months, with the Afghan military losing ground significantly to the Taliban. The casualties are further exacerbating Afghan military shortfalls, caused by poor recruiting, and large numbers of “ghost troops” who exist only on paper.
Gen. Votel sought to downplay this to the reporters, however, saying Afghan officials have acknowledged the casualties but have said they “will not deter them.” Votel is also keen to see the Afghan military abandon attempts to defend territory and hold military checkpoints.
Instead, Gen. Votel argues that the Afghans should abandon their static defensive positions, which they can’t sustain anyhow, and focus entirely on an offensive war. Afghan officials have yet to comment on this, but it is unlikely that letting the Taliban overrun all these sites is a realistic option for them.