Speaking by teleconference to a US audience at Johns Hopkins University, Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani argued that the Afghans are not losing the war, and that the Afghan military is not at risk of collapse.
Ghani predicted the war would end with a negotiated settlement, and the question was only of when. He also revealed that over 28,000 Afghan troops have been killed since the nation took direct responsibility for security in 2015.
That’s an important revelation, both because the US has refused to provide numbers on Afghan casualties, and because 28,000 is a lot of deaths for a four year span. It also puts the claims of not being at risk of collapse into question
That’s because while the Afghan military is huge on paper, in practice the number of trained, combat-ready troops is over-stated, and many “ghost soldiers” exist only on paper, part of endemic corruption in Afghanistan. It isn’t clear how long the Afghan government can sustain such losses.