News / Asia

    US: Taliban Inflicting Heavy Losses on Afghan Troops

    Afghan security personnel in Jalalabad, Afghanistan May 29, 2013
    Afghan security personnel in Jalalabad, Afghanistan May 29, 2013
    Luis Ramirez
    The U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General Joseph Dunford, says Taliban insurgents are inflicting heavy losses on Afghan national security forces as the Afghans assume the lead.  

    U.S. Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a gathering where U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel joined NATO defense ministers to talk about the way forward in Afghanistan as international forces prepare to draw down next year.  

    As that drawdown nears, international troops are taking up more of a support role and it is the Afghans who are in the lead against the insurgents.  Now on the front lines with international troops only providing backup, the Afghans are at risk for greater losses.

    Several weeks into the fighting season, General Dunford said the Taliban has done what it said it would do: step up high-profile assaults and insider attacks to create fear and intimidation.  

    He called the losses among Afghan forces significant.

    “The numbers have been, as I look back over the last six or eight weeks, it's probably been 70 in one week.  It was 44, 34 and then the last two weeks have been over 100,” Dunford said.

    But Dunford said the Afghan forces are exceeding expectations in their ability to take on the insurgents and he expressed confidence that they are well on their way to being able to defend their country on their own.

    The general said the only operations still led by U.S. and other international forces include local security patrols, route clearance, and drawdown operations.

    The high number of Afghan casualties is one reason U.S. military officials want to wait before deciding how many foreign troops should remain in Afghanistan to continue training, advising, and assisting the Afghans after most international troops leave at the end of next year.

    Dunford said there are a number of things that need to be watched before determining the size of a residual force.

    “Certainly, the performance of Afghans this summer. The results of elections in 2014. Any political processes that may bring the Taliban into a political process will have an effect on that which obviously affects the strength of the insurgency so I think it's impossible today except with the linear progression to project out to 2015 what the security environment is going to be,” Dunford said.

    U.S. military officials on Tuesday said they are not especially concerned about talks that the Taliban has been holding with Iran, which analysts believe is looking to exert influence on Afghanistan once most international troops depart next year.

    Brussels is the final stop on a round-the-world trip on which Defense Secretary Hagel is calling attention to threats in cyberspace, which is the focus of a special session at the NATO meeting.

    The defense secretary also used the Brussels visit to reassure NATO partners that Washington is able to meet its commitments to the alliance, despite Washington's budget problems.  He offered similar reassurances to the U.S.' Asian partners during his previous stop at the Shangri-La dialogue, an annual Asia-Pacific security summit in Singapore.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora