Latest SIGAR report paints bleak picture of Afghanistan

The strongest and deadliest jihadist group in Afghanistan, the Taliban, is now able to generate most of its funding for terrorist activities from the illegal opium trade, Gen. John Nicholson, the top commander of American and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces, told reporters last December.

Of roughly 400 districts in Afghanistan, the Taliban controls, contests, or influences 171 of them, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance is close to making a decision on whether to increase its troop numbers in Afghanistan to help combat militants, RFE/RL reports. "With the so-called fighting season imminent, I appeal to all parties to take every measure possible to prevent unnecessary and unacceptable harm to Afghan civilians".

"Afghan losses have been the greatest of all: more than twice as many [Afghan] members were killed in the single year of 2016 than U.S. forces in Afghanistan have lost since 2001", according to SIGAR. According to USFOR-A, the districts under Afghan government and insurgent control both increased this quarter, while the number of contested districts fell. "Heavy casualties and capability gaps limit the effectiveness of Afghan soldiers and police".

However, this result was less than 1% of Afghanistan's opium production.

Afghan police and army units took over the task of providing security for the country from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in 2015. "Additional thousands of Coalition personnel and contractors have also died during the conflict".


Establish a counternarcotics strategy: A new USA government strategy to fight the narcotics trade in Afghanistan has been on hold for more than two years, and will need coordination with the host- country strategy approved by the Afghan parliament.

As the Trump administration engages in a review of USA policy in Afghanistan, SIGAR is urging the new administration to reassess how aid is given to the country, particularly in light of rampant corruption.

About 6,785 Afghan soldiers and police personnel were killed while another 11,777 were wounded in the first 11 months of 2016, according to SIGAR, adding the Afghan government has not provided the USA military with data for the last seven weeks of that year.

The report also warned about the security situation in Afghanistan. That, too, was a record and a 40 percent increase over 2015.

Nearly 16 years after the US -backed ouster of the Taliban, Afghanistan remains in the grip of a war with "shockingly high" death rates among security forces and a record number of casualties among civilians, according to the USA government watchdog monitoring the country's reconstruction efforts.


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