The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) suffered approximately 5% more casualties between 1 June and 31 August 2019 than during the same period the previous year, John Sopko, the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), said in his latest quarterly report released on 31 October.
About 60% of all ANDSF casualties during this period were incurred in defensive operations while the remaining 40% were suffered during offensive operations, said the SIGAR, citing data from the NATO-led ‘Resolute Support’ (RS) mission in Afghanistan.
That said, no further details were provided as US Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) continued to classify most ANDSF casualty figures – as well as other ANDSF-related data such as performance assessments and operational readiness – at the request of the Afghan government.
SIGAR in its report said that without sufficient personnel, the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces were less able to provide security to the Afghan population; increasingly vulnerable to enemy attacks; at risk of incurring higher casualties.
“Afghan National Defense & Security Forces not yet capable of independently maintaining their US-provided vehicles & other equipment,” the report said.
It further added that ANDSF face critical capability gaps in key areas that hinder its effectiveness and readiness, according to US Department of Defense and RS.
John Sopko emphasized that the ongoing and resilient insurgency is the most enduring threat to the Afghan reconstruction effort.
“Afghan central government’s capabilities generally weak & it often lacks the capacity to manage & account for donor funds,” the report reads.
It added with or without a peace settlement, the US mission in Afghanistan & the reconstruction effort will continue to require vigorous oversight