Senators in the Meshrano Jirga (Upper House of Parliament) on Sunday summoned Ministers of Defense and Interior and the deputy head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) to answer questions over the increase of insecurity in the country and the high casualty toll among security forces.
Afghan Defense Minister Gen. Tariq Shah Bahrami acknowledged the casualty toll problem among Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers and said in the past month 513 soldiers were killed.
Bahrami said this had been one of the worst months in terms of deaths among security forces. He also said at least 718 were wounded and 43 were captured by insurgents.
He however emphasized that the death toll among insurgents was three to four times higher.
“Unfortunately, in the last one month 513 ANA soldiers were killed, 718 wounded and 43 captured; it was the highest number of fatalities we have had in a single month. Compared to the fatalities among our security forces, the enemy suffered three to four times more than us,” said Bahrami.
Senators however blasted security departments over their inability to prevent attacks in provinces as well as in Kabul city.
The senators said instead of preventing attacks, security forces were being used to retrieve bodies following such incidents.
“The insurgents carry out attacks and loot properties, but when we (security forces) get there, we only collect bodies and assess damage caused to the area,” senate Mohammad Alam Ezedyar said.
“You take control of the city after it is attacked, and everything is destroyed. You become proud that you have taken the city back, what kind of pride is this? Why should a city collapse?” said senator Abdullah Qaraloq.
“What is the main problem? Afghanistan is in a very bad situation,” said another senator Zalmai Zabuli.
The defense minister said currently the Afghan security forces are not being backed up by air support at night and that this is proving a big challenge.
Interior Minister Wais Ahmad Barmak meanwhile responded to senators questions on the calls for a review of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between Kabul and Washington.
Barmak said the BSA was an important instrument for stability in the region and Afghanistan and that it helps to maintain security in the country.
“I told you earlier that daily 30 ANA and police soldiers get killed,” said Barmak.
“Those who oppose the BSA are working in the interests of neighboring countries,” said Bahrami.
NDS chief Masoom Stanekzai failed to attend Sunday’s session but sent his deputy instead.
A number of senators said the NDS is unable to prevent insurgent attacks in the country, especially in Kabul, and blasted the NDS chief for not attending the session.
“Defense and interior ministers have come, but NDS chief has not. Let’s put our friendship aside, but we should implement the law and his absence is unacceptable,” senate head Fazl Hadi Muslimyar said.
NDS deputy head Abdul Saboor Qane however said the NDS chief had been unable to attend due to urgent commitments and that he had sent him in his place.
“He was supposed to come, but believe me, another issue arose and he could not come here,” said Qane.
Security officials said the US Strategy for South Asia and Afghanistan is an effective strategy but highlighted that the strategy has far not succeeding in getting Pakistan to end its support of insurgents.