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Afghan Governor: The Taliban Are 'Going To Win' If Death Toll Continues To Rise
A provincial governor in Afghanistan says the Taliban is "going to win" if the death toll among Afghan security forces — which the New York Times reports is double the average from two years ago — continues unabated.
“The Taliban don’t want peace, because they think they can win the war,” Baghlan Province Governor Abdul Hai Nimati told the Times. “If it goes on like this, they’re going to win.”
He added: "There is a risk that even this province will collapse if we don’t get support. Until now, we have no reserve. Every man we have is fighting without any rest for 10 days now, and getting no sleep, and they’re tired.”
The quote from Nimati is part of a larger analysis by the Times' Rod Nordland, which examined the death toll among Afghan forces and why official reporting on it was classified secret in 2017. The Pentagon acknowledged that during that time Afghan casualties had "steadily increased."
The Times' analysis said roughly 200 to 400 Afghan forces were killed over a one-week period earlier this month. (It reported that the top American commander, Army Gen. Austin S. Miller, said in a recent meeting with diplomats that 400 Afghans had been killed, while inquiries to 23 Afghan district officials revealed there were 193 deaths among Afghan soldiers and police.)
Army Col. Dave Butler, a spokesman for the Resolute Support mission, told Task & Purpose that Miller was “reflecting on Afghan sacrifice over a several-week period. He was relaying a sense of urgency to the team and encouraging focus on the mission.”
“This is a fight, of course casualties are a concern," Butler continued. "We’re helping the Afghans work through the proper array and employment of the force so that they can protect themselves while securing their country.”
On Sunday, Afghan Defense Minister Tariq Shad Bahrami said more than 500 Afghan National Army soldiers had been killed in action over the past month, according to Tolo News.
“Unfortunately, the army had 513 martyrs, 718 injured, and 43 taken as captives in the last month, but the enemies’ losses are four times higher,” he told Afghan senators.
Casualties have averaged 30 to 40 per day in recent months, senior Afghan officials told The Times.
The rising toll has affected morale in Afghan ranks, in addition to making recruiting much harder. The head of recruitment for one province told the Times daily recruits in his province was about half of what it was last year. Another from Helmand province said they usually see only two or three potential recruits per day.
“Sometimes we don’t see any recruits for weeks,” Abdul Qudous told the Times from Helmand. “People don’t want to join the army any more because the casualties are too high.”
‘I made promises to the people that I lost’— How the Iraq war forged a Navy SEAL’s path to Harvard Medical School and NASA
Navy Lt. Jonny Kim went viral last week when NASA announced that he and 10 other candidates (including six other service members) became the newest members of the agency's hallowed astronaut corps. A decorated Navy SEAL and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Kim in particular seems to have a penchant for achieving people's childhood dreams.
However, Kim shared with Task & Purpose that his motivation for living life the way he has stems not so much from starry-eyed ambition, but from the pain and loss he suffered both on the battlefields of Iraq and from childhood instability while growing up in Los Angeles. Kim tells his story in the following Q&A, which was lightly edited for length and clarity:
You can almost smell the gunpowder in the scene captured by a Marine photographer over the weekend, showing a Marine grunt firing a shotgun during non-lethal weapons training.
A Marine grunt stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is being considered for an award after he saved the lives of three people earlier this month from a fiery car crash.
Cpl. Scott McDonell, an infantry assaultman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was driving down Market Street in Wilmington in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 when he saw a car on fire after it had crashed into a tree. Inside were three victims aged 17, 20, and 20.
"It was a pretty mangled wreck," McDonell told ABC 15. "The passenger was hanging out of the window."
New Vietnam War movie 'The Last Full Measure' takes some well-deserved shots at the military’s award process
Todd Robinson's upcoming Vietnam War drama, The Last Full Measure, is a story of two battles: One takes place during an ambush in the jungles of Vietnam in 1966, while the other unfolds more than three decades later as the survivors fight to see one pararescueman's valor posthumously recognized.
With ISIS trying to reorganize itself into an insurgency, most attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Iraq are being carried out by Shiite militias, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.
"In the time that I have been in Iraq, we've taken a couple of casualties from ISIS fighting on the ground, but most of the attacks have come from those Shia militia groups, who are launching rockets at our bases and frankly just trying to kill someone to make a point," Grynkewich said Wednesday at an event hosted by the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.