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.


 
 

 

News Briefs February 27, 2015

Ukraine will start pulling back heavy weapons in the east Ukraine’s military says it will start pulling back its heavy weapons from the front line with Russian-backed separatists as required under a cease-fire agreement. The Defense Ministry said in a statement Feb. 26 that it reserved the right to revise its withdrawal plans in the...
 
 

Northrop Grumman’s AstroMesh reflector successfully deploys for NASA’s SMAP satellite

The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory successfully deployed the mesh reflector and boom aboard the Soil Moisture Active Passive spacecraft, a key milestone on its mission to provide global measurements of soil moisture. Launched Jan. 31, SMAP represents the future of Earth Science by helping researchers better understand our planet. SMAP’s unmatched data capabilities are enabled...
 
 

Headlines February 25, 2015

News: Army to send headquarters group to Kandahar in first sign of revision to Afghan withdrawal plan - In the first official sign that the Pentagon plans to keep a U.S. military presence in southern Afghanistan after this year, the Army is sending the 7th Infantry Division headquarters from Joint Base Lewis-McChord on a year-long deployment...
 

 

News Briefs February 25, 2015

Lithuania restores compulsory military service Lithuania will restore compulsory military service for young men as tensions in Ukraine continue to worry the small Baltic nation, the government said Feb. 24. After a meeting of military leaders and top government officials, President Dalia Grybauskaite said the measure was necessary because of growing aggression in Ukraine. Military...
 
 

Headlines February 23, 2015

News: Republicans, Democrats want more DOD spending - Republicans and Democrats remain deeply divided about how much the country should spend on the military, but a growing number of all Americans say the Pentagon budget is too small.   Business: New armed UAV export rules help U.S. firms - New U.S. rules loosening restrictions on exports of...
 
 

News Briefs February 23, 2015

New Pentagon chief visits airfield in southern Afghanistan U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter is getting briefed on American military operations at Kandahar airfield in southern Afghanistan as part of what he calls a listening tour of the war zone. On his second day in Afghanistan, Carter flew to Kandahar from Kabul, the capital, where he...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>