Afghanistan’s security forces battling the resurgent Taliban have suffered around 15,000 casualties, including 5,523 fatalities in the first eight months of 2016, says a U.S. government monitoring agency.
The agency has also warned of eroding gains the war-shattered country has made with the help of the international community.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) in its quarterly report published Sunday noted the Afghan government lost 2.2 percent territorial control during this year’s fighting.
“Of Afghanistan’s 407 districts, 258 districts were under government control or influence, 33 districts were under insurgent control or influence, and 116 districts were “contested.”
There were 101 insider attacks from January 1, 2015 through August 19, 2016 in which Afghan National Defense and Security Force (ANDSF) personnel turned on fellow security forces, killing 257 and wounding 125 others.
“The ANDSF lacks a risk-management system and therefore relies heavily on U.S. forces to prevent strategic failure.”
The Taliban has intensified battlefield and other attacks since August and came close to recapturing the northern city of Kunduz and the capital of southern Helmand province this month.
The insurgents continue to stage assaults on these two key urban centers and several other provincial capitals, inflicting heavy casualties on Afghan forces.
The conflict-related incidents have caused more than 8,000 civilian casualties in Afghanistan, including more than 2,500 deaths in the first nine months of 2016, according to the United Nations.