Afghan security forces were killed at a "shockingly high" rate during what historically has been a winter lull in fighting against the Taliban, a US watchdog said in a report released yesterday. According to the U.S. government's Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), 807 troops from the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces died between January 1 and February 24.
"Afghanistan remains in the grip of a deadly war. Casualties suffered by (ANDSF) in the fight against the Taliban and other insurgents continue to be shockingly high," the report noted.
Levels of violence have traditionally dipped over Afghanistan's cold winter months, but this year the Taliban continued to battle government forces, most successfully in a horrific April 19 attack on a military base outside the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
The Afghan Taliban launched their "spring offensive" last Friday, heralding fresh fighting the group said would include "conventional attacks, guerrilla warfare, complex martyrdom attacks [and] insider attacks."
Afghan police and army units in 2015 took over from NATO the task of providing security for the country. According to SIGAR, 6,785 Afghan soldiers and police officers were killed between January 1 and November 12, 2016, with another 11,777 wounded.
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