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.”
Two airmen were administratively punished for drinking at the missile launch control center for 150 nuclear LGM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, the Air Force confirmed to Task & Purpose on Friday.
Two F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters recently flew a mission in the Middle East in "beast mode," meaning they were loaded up with as much firepower as they could carry.
The F-35s with the 4th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron took off from Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates to execute a mission in support of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Air Forces Central Command revealed. The fifth-generation fighters sacrificed their high-end stealth to fly with a full loadout of weaponry on their wings.
The U.S. Senate closed out the week before Memorial Day by confirming Gen. James McConville as the Army's new chief of staff and Adm. Bill Moran as the Navy's new chief of naval operations.
McConville, previously vice chief of staff of the Army, was confirmed on Thursday along with his successor, Lt Gen. Joseph Marin. Moran, currently vice chief of naval operations, was confirmed Friday along with his successor, Vice Adm. Robert Burke.
The Pentagon is producing precisely diddly-squat in terms of proof that Iran is behind recent attacks in the Middle East, requiring more U.S. troops be sent to the region.
Adm. Michael Gilday, director of the Joint Staff, said on Friday that the U.S. military is extending the deployment of about 600 troops with four Patriot missile batteries already in the region and sending close to 1,000 other service members to the Middle East in response to an Iranian "campaign" against U.S. forces.