(U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Luke Hoogendam)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - There has been a sharp drop in the size of Afghanistan's National Defense Security Forces in the past few months due to changes in the way troops are counted and an effort to reduce the number of so-called "ghost" soldiers, a U.S. government watchdog said on Thursday.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said in a report that ANDSF personnel size had gone down by nearly 10 percentage points in the most recent quarter compared to the previous trimester.

The number of ANDSF troops fell by nearly 42,000 compared to roughly the same period, between April and the end of June last year, the report said.

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A U.S. Marine with Task Force Southwest patrols through a village near Bost Kalay, Afghanistan (U.S. Marine Corps photo)

At the White House on Wednesday, President Donald Trump expressed intense dismay about ongoing oversight provided by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the U.S. government's main watchdog for the 17-year-long effort to rebuild the country.

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U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Sharida Jackson

Finally, a bright spot amid 17 years of war in Afghanistan: insurgent control of the country has started to diminish for the first time in nearly two years, according to a quarterly report to Congress from the Special Investigator General for Afghanistan Reconstruction published on July 30.

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New efforts to stamp out corruption among Afghan government officials and extricate the U.S. military from Afghanistan are going, well, terribly, according to a new report to Congress from the Special Inspector General Report for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

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DoD photo by Lt.Cmdr. Kathryn Gray

The federal watchdog responsible for tracking how American tax dollars are being spent in Afghanistan claimed in a new report that the Department of Defense is deliberately attempting to obscure the extent to which the Taliban and other insurgent groups in the country are flourishing even amid the intensifying U.S.-led military campaign to batter them into submission.

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