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Afghan forces’ strength down by 11pc: SIGAR

Afghan forces’ strength down by 11pc: SIGAR

May 01, 2018 - 12:56

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Amidst an uptick in militant-linked violence in the country, a US watchdog on Tuesday announced an 11 percent fall in the number of Afghan security forces in 2017.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistaninfo-icon Reconstructioninfo-icon (SIGAR) made the announcement in its latest report, which came hours after 27 people including 10 journalists were killed in devastating twin attacks in Kabul.

Painting a grim picture of the security situation in the country, the SIGAR report belies Pentagon assertions that Afghan and US-led forces are making steady progress in the ongoing conflict.

As of January 31, the total strength of Afghan forces, including army and police, stood at 296,409. However, the report noted, the number decreased by more than 10 percent over.

The Talibaninfo-icon and other militant outfits are in control of 14.5 percent of Afghanistan's 407 districts while government holds sway over 56.3 percent of the districts, according to the watchdog.

"The overall trend for the insurgency is rising control over the population (from nine percent in August 2016 to 12 percent in January 2018)," said the SIGAR, which reported a surge in civilian deaths.

Meanwhile, Reuters quoted SIGAR head John Sopko as saying: “Building up the Afghan forces is a top priority for the U.S. and our international allies, so it is worrisome to see Afghan force strength decreasing.”

At least 296,400 security personnel are currently serving in the ranks of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, including members of the Afghan Air Force.

PANinfo-icon Monitor/mud

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