Washington (AFP) - Afghan security forces are suffering heavy casualties on the battlefield and large numbers of troops are resigning or deserting their units, a new report said Tuesday.
The US military also has overestimated the size of the Afghan police and army by a significant margin, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, John Sopko, said in a report to Congress. The Afghan army "continues to suffer serious combat losses," SIGAR wrote.
Between October 2013 and September 2014, more than 1,300 Afghan army troops were killed in action and 6,200 were wounded. Apart from high causalities, the Afghan national security forces face a persistent problem trying to retain those who joined the police and the army, the report said.
"Attrition continues to be a major challenge for the ANSF," it said. "Between September 2013 and September 2014, more than 40,000 personnel were dropped from ANA (Afghan National Army) rolls." The high attrition rate has plagued Kabul for years and NATO advisers have struggled to stem the problem.
The report also sharply criticized the US military mission in Afghanistan for revising the estimate for the total strength of the Afghan army. Commanders informed the inspector general of the lower number only hours before its report to Congress was due to be released.
The Afghan army now stands at 169,203 troops, a drop of 8.5 percent or about 15,000 soldiers. That marked the lowest troop strength for the Afghan army since August 2011.