In the news...

November 13, 2013

Pentagon report shows spike in Afghan troop deaths

Lolita C. Baldor
Associated Press

The number of Afghan national security troops killed in combat shot up almost 80 percent during this summer’s fighting season, compared with the same time in 2012, as Afghans take the lead in the fight across the country.

A Pentagon report says that U.S. and coalition deaths, meanwhile, dropped by almost 60 percent during the same six-month period. The Defense Department refused to release numbers to explain the percentages, but U.S. military leaders have said that the number of Afghans killed each week had spiked to more than 100 earlier this year.

The high number of casualties and the Afghans’ limited ability to evacuate their wounded, ìadversely affects morale, retention and recruiting,î according to the report, which the Defense Department released Nov. 8.

A senior U.S. military official, when asked about the casualty rate, said late last month that as the fighting season begins to wind down and winter approaches, the Afghan deaths had also started to decline. In one recent week, about 50 were killed in action, said the official, who spoke to reporters at a recent NATO meeting and requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly under NATO rules.

The Pentagon report covers the time period from April 1, 2013, to Sept. 30, 2013, before snow and cold temperatures begin to make travel difficult.

The drop in U.S. and coalition casualties reflects the Afghans’ increased role taking the lead of combat operations as well as the ongoing decrease in the number of international forces in the country. As of this week, there are about 48,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, down from a peak of slightly more than 100,000 in 2010.

According to the report, Afghan forces now conduct 95 percent of conventional operations and 98 percent of special operations in Afghanistan. Coalition forces continue to provide training and assistance but are still needed for air support, security, route clearance for roadside bombs, air lift for wounded or dead troops and counterterror operations.

Under the current plan, coalition combat forces will leave Afghanistan at the end of next year.

Negotiations between the U.S. and the Afghan government are continuing to determine whether a small U.S. force will remain after 2014, and, if so, how many. U.S. and coalition officials have outlined plans to leave between 8,000-12,000 troops there to train and advise the Afghans, but any decision depends on whether the two sides can finalize a security agreement. The U.S. is expected to provide no more than 8,000, but the number could be substantially fewer depending on the agreement reached.

Overall, the report said that the Afghans are gaining capabilities, but it also warned that the insurgency ìconsolidated gains in some of the rural areas in which it has traditionally held power.

And it says that as more U.S. and coalition troops leave in the coming months it will be difficult for the Afghans to take on all the needed capabilities, including both the fighting force and the government institutions and ministries needed to support it.

Afghan capabilities, ìare not yet fully self-sustainable, and considerable effort will be required to make progress permanent,î the report said. After 2014, (Afghan forces’) sustainability will be at high risk without continued aid from the international community and continued coalition force assistance including institutional advising.

With international aid, however, the Afghans could continue to increase their ability to maintain a force and fight the Taliban, the report said.

According to the report, there are more than 344,000 Afghan security troops, which is nearly at the goal of 352,000. But over the last 12 months, the attrition rate has been more than 34 percent. The troop loss is blamed on poor leadership, inadequate living and working conditions, the lack of a good program for leaves and the effects of seasonal demands for harvesting and planting.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines August 26, 2015

News: U.S. F-22s deploying to Europe – Weeks after top Pentagon officials began openly calling Russia the greatest threat to the United States, the Air Force is preparing to deploy the F-22 Raptor to Europe for the first time.   Business: Lockheed pays $4.8 million to settle illegal lobbying claim – Sandia Corp. and parent company Lockheed...
 
 

Headlines August 24, 2015

News: Sources: Congress mulls full-year continuing resolution – With a Sept. 30 deadline looming, the Pentagon is coming to grips with the reality that it will be operating under the stop-gap spending measure known as a continuing resolution for the near future.   Business: JLTV award could reorder vehicle industry – The U.S. Army is poised to...
 
 

Headlines August 21, 2015

News: Defense secretary: We’re looking at U.S. sites for Gitmo detainees – Pentagon teams are examining sites in the United States to move terror detainees currently held at the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Aug. 20. F-16 pilot remains hospitalized after ground crash at Nellis Air Force Base – An Air...
 

 

Headlines August 19, 2015

News: Navy SEALs to open to women, top admiral says – The Navy is planning to open its elite SEAL teams to women who can pass the grueling training regimen, the service’s top officer said Tuesday in an exclusive interview. First flight of U.S. Air Force tanker delayed by a month – The first flight of the...
 
 

Headlines August 17, 2015

News: After delicate negotiations, U.S. says it will pull Patriot missiles from Turkey – The United States said Aug. 16 that it would withdraw two Patriot missile-defense batteries from southern Turkey this fall, a sign that the Pentagon believes the risk of Syrian Army missile attacks has eased since the Patriots were deployed in 2013. Officials...
 
 

Headlines August 14, 2015

News: Two sailors injured after Hornet catches fire on USS Harry S. Truman flight deck – Two sailors suffered injuries late Tuesday night following a fire that broke out on the flight deck of carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75), Navy officials told USNI News Aug. 12. McCain wants answers on VA delays in healthcare for...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>