Afghanistan: Late last week, The US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan published a quarterly report which included a section on manning in the Afghan National Army. The British newspaper Independent also published UK findings on manning as well, but with a slightly different focus.
The US report indicates the Afghan National Army has gotten smaller in the past year. Strength in March 2012 was But strength in February 2013 was 175,441.
The British reports that attrition in the Afghan National Army is about 30%, or three in every ten soldiers are killed, captured or dismissed for cause. The report also states that 5,000 recruits a month just quit, or annually a third of the current strength of the Afghan National Army.
The Special Inspector General stipulated that accurate and reliable accounting of government forces strength is necessary to help ensure US funds are spent for legitimate and eligible costs. It quoted a US command that there exists no “viable method of validating personnel numbers.”
Comment: The two reports read like Vietnam redux. The US report makes clear that without outside money, almost no Afghan security forces loyal to the government would exist.