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 October 24, 2014

News: U.S., South Korea delay transfer of wartime control - The U.S. and South Korea have delayed transferring wartime operational control of allied forces by taking on a “conditions-based approach” and scrapping the previously set deadline of 2015.   Business: Exclusive: Lockheed, Pentagon reach $4 billion deal for more F-35 jets - Lockheed Martin and U.S. defense...
 
 

News Briefs October 24, 2014

French moving troops toward Libyan border A top French military official says the country is moving troops toward the Libyan border within weeks and, along with U.S. intelligence, is monitoring al Qaeda arms shipments to Africa’s Sahel region. A French base will go up within weeks in a desert outpost just a hundred kilometers (60...
 
 

Headlines October 22, 2014

News: Northrop challenges 3DELRR contract award - Northrop Grumman has formally issued a protest against the US Air Force’s decision to award its next-generation ground based radar to competitor Raytheon.   Business: Defense firms prefer GOP, but spread campaign cash between political parties - For every campaign contribution from a major arms manufacturer to a Republican candidate...
 

 

News Briefs October 22, 2014

Military converges on scene of Kansas jet crash Military personnel are investigating at the site in southeast Kansas where an Oklahoma Air National Guard fighter jet crashed after a midair collision with another one during a training exercise. The F-16 crashed Oct. 20 in a pasture about three miles northeast of Moline, an Elk County...
 
 

Headlines October 20, 2014

News: Navy grounds ‘Top Guns’ - The F/A-18s needs spare parts and in too many cases they’re being taken from brand new jets. This is a risk to national security and pilots’ lives.   Business: Boeing seeks revised schedule for U.S. aerial tanker - Boeing is revising its master schedule for developing the new U.S. Air Force...
 
 

News Briefs October 20, 2014

New military medical team to help with Ebola in U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the military to prepare and train a 30-member medical support team that could provide short-term help to civilian health professionals if there are more Ebola cases in the United States. His spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, says the team...
 




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>