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    Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers stand guard during an operation against Taliban militants in the Nad Ali district of Helmand on December 26, 2015

    US, Coalition Troop Drawdown in Afghanistan Raises Prospect of Failure

    © AFP 2019 / NOOR MOHAMMAD
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    Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko said that US military advisors and their coalition partners have little or no direct contact with the Afghan National Defense and Security Force units below the army headquarters and regional police headquarters level.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The reduction of US and coalition troops in Afghanistan makes it unlikely Afghan forces can effectively counter anticipated attacks by the Taliban in the year ahead, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko told Congress on Friday.

    "The drawdown of troops has imperiled the US ability to monitor and mentor the ANDSF [Afghan National Defense and Security Force]," Sopko told the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

    Sopko noted that US military advisors and their coalition partners have little or no direct contact with the ANDSF units below the army headquarters and regional police headquarters level.

    "This provokes the obvious question: Is the current level of US military personnel in Afghanistan adequate to ensure that the ANDSF do not fail their mission," he added.

    Sopko also noted that the strength of Afghan security is questionable, in part because of the presence of ghost soldiers on payrolls. In addition, the United States has too few resources to accurately assess the capability of Afghan forces.

    President Barack Obama has scaled back plans to reduce US forces below the present level of less than 10,000. Moreover, the president has abandoned his goal of ending the nation’s military involvement in Afghanistan by the end of his presidency.

    According to the United Nations, the Taliban now control more territory than at any time since 2001.

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    Tags:
    Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), Taliban, John Sopko, United States, Afghanistan
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