NIGHTWATCH Extract on Afghanistan

08 Wild Cards

Afghanistan: A report by the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction reported that the United States does not know the capability of the Afghanistan security forces at this time, Reuters reported 28 June, citing U.S. auditors.

According to the report, rankings used to grade Afghan forces varied greatly from one region to another, personnel numbers for the Afghan army were overstated and widespread corruption and drug abuse among Afghan security forces as well as logistics issues plagued the effort to develop independent Afghan forces.

Comment: Open source information on Afghan security force casualties in April and May tends to reinforce the IG report. As US and Western force casualties began to rise, Afghan Army and Police casualties declined, in open source reporting. The data suggested the Afghans were sitting back, letting US and Western forces engage and be engaged by the Taliban, even in joint operations.

Enlistment in the security forces is a jobs program, rather than a career in the Western sense. There is a strong military tradition in Afghanistan, but it resides primarily in the Pashtuns, who are the Taliban today. When Pashtuns enlist, they are infiltrators from the Taliban. The numbers of Afghan army and police personnel are fictitious, but that should not be news.

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