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Report: Afghan Forces Number Shrinking as Risks Rise

A policeman stands guard near the site of a deadly suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, June 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
Report: Afghan Forces Number Shrinking as Risks Rise
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The United States is pushing for peace in Afghanistan. But a new report says Afghan government security forces are shrinking. It also warns that security risks across the country are growing, and the Taliban remains strong.

In other words, little has changed over the past year, even with an increase in U.S. air power. The situation in Afghanistan was termed a “stalemate,” with no side likely able to win a clear military victory.

The report comes from a group known as the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. The findings were presented to U.S. lawmakers on Thursday.

News reports say President Donald Trump is considering withdrawing as many as half of the 14,000 U.S. forces in Afghanistan. U.S. forces invaded the country more than 17 years ago, after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The U.S. Department of Defense claims that military pressure on the Taliban is increasing. Last year, the U.S. military sharply increased bombing in support of Afghan government forces. The military also increased its training of Afghan troops. Yet the Afghan military was not able to expand its control of the country last year.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has noted the sacrifices his troops are making in fighting the Taliban. He reportedly said at the World Economic Forum last week that 45,000 Afghan security forces had died since September 2014.

The heavy losses help explain why numbers of Afghan military and police forces are not at full strength.

U.S. military officials have repeatedly said they are making progress toward supporting the Afghan government to defend its own people. But the U.S. special representative to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalizad, said in recent days the U.S. and the Taliban agreed at least to the idea of peace. The Afghan government has yet to express support for the idea.

For his part, President Trump has said many times he is not sure continuing the war is wise. Afghan officials hope Trump will say what he is planning to do when he speaks to Congress and the American people in the yearly State of the Union next week.

I’m Caty Weaver.

The Associated Press (AP) reported this story. Kelly Jean Kelly adapted the story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

stalemate n. standstill; a lack of movement or progress